Monday, November 24, 2014

Don't Forget

 I love fall!
 I love the colors of the leaves. I love the colors on crisp brilliant blue sky days when the light shines through and off of them. I love the colors on gray days when they just provide richness and warmth. I love the crunch they make when they are being walked on. I love the piles for my kids to rake up and jump in.

The smell of warming fires announcing "cozy" to the whole neighborhood. The beginning of hot chocolate and apple cider season.

 I also love the holidays. Let's face it, Halloween is fun. I love coming up with costumes and the excitement of dressing my kids up to see friends and neighbors. I don't particularly love the idea of my kids getting tons of candy we don't need, but when we turn it into gingerbread houses later, I don't feel quite so bad.

There is Thanksgiving and good food.

Then comes Christmas. Oh Christmas! The music, the lights, the get-togethers with friends and family. The amazing    Oh wait. Did you notice that?

 I glossed over Thanksgiving.

What should, in my opinion, be one of the most important holidays of the year, and it seems to get whitewashed every year.

Why is that? Is it because you can't commercialize gratitude? You can't dress it up, sit it on a shelf and take pictures of it. You can't cover it with lights. You can't pin it on Pinterest.

 Is it because recognizing The Source outside of ourselves for the many things we have, and have become, is too... humble?
 Let's face it, if we acknowledge God for blessing us with everything we have and are, it might take away from our efforts, right? Then we might not get credit for what we have done.

 Hmmm. I don't think the pilgrims ever thought there might be a book, or thousands of books, about them. They were simply trying to make it possible to worship God the way they wanted to and allow their families to live the lifestyle of believers. When they then arrived in this land and then struggled just to survive, they didn't blame God and walk away from their beliefs. They prayed all the more and exercised their faith, and when they were blessed by the goodness of the knowledge of the Natives they put forward more effort to learn from and listen to them. And when those efforts proved fruitful, they put forth a lot of effort to thank God and their new benefactors and to celebrate, truly celebrate, all they had to be grateful for.

 If we think it is a lot of work to put together a Thanksgiving Dinner now, how difficult was it to gather & grind, find, kill, clean and cook the animals, plant harvest, gather and dry, and then cook all of these things with no electricity, no crockpots, etc.  Plus they had 91 visitors who joined them for the feast.
Their lives, many had lost theirs in trying this "experiment". Their homes, simple and yet providential. Their food. They were no longer starving, they had experienced that. Not only did they have food, they had variety and abundance. Their freedom to worship and thank God for all that He had blessed them with, the good, the difficult and everything in between.

Maybe if our Thanksgiving season is more thankful, our gratitude and celebration of the birth of our Savior will be more fulfilling and genuine. When we are thankful, we recognize the gifts we receive more fully and what a great way to move into the Christmas season.

So let me just say, I am thankful for each of you! My dear family, my friends, those I have only just met, and even some I may never meet. Thanks for the part you play in my life. Thank you to those who have taught me, mentored me, forgiven me and loved me. Thank you to those who have fought so I can live to freely profess what I believe. Thank you to those who farm the fields that provide our food. Thank you to those who built the home we now live in. Thank you to those who make the clothes we wear (my kids would especially thank you because they have seen me when I sew, and what I have sewn).
Thank you to the parents who gave me life.

And especially thank you to the Father who really gave me life and His Son who gave me the chance to live again. I have been so blessed!

And a Happy day of Giving Thanks to you!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

White Flag

Ok, today I am waving the white flag. All the cushions are off my couch and currently being used as racing motorcycles. My kids already washed the car and had a water fight which ended when my youngest slipped on the slippery garage floor and really hit his head hard. The pile of laundry and dishes is frightening. I found the toilet paper roll (thankfully empty) in the toilet- why? Because "it was empty". Yes, the garbage can is right next to the toilet. I just went upstairs to find my four year old with a pile of q-tips. He had pulled all the cotton off the ends to fill the back end of his pickup truck so it would like "the hair from sheep". Some days I just have to surrender and listen. Derek was again announcing to his brothers that his name really is Fireball Derek. That is his new name for himself and anyone that knows him, knows that is completely accurate! I can hear Preston encouraging his brother to try to win the motorcycle race. I hear Brennan saying "it is time to blast off." Meanwhile, the sound effects are incredible and a tribute to boyhood. And the dishwasher and the dryer are doing their things. I can only do one thing at a time (truthfully more like 3 things).  But the most important thing today may be to surrender and drink in the sounds while they are happy and having fun. After all, too soon they will be off riding scooters with friends and doing their own things and all I will have to listen to is the dryer and dishwasher.