A lot of people have the post Thanksgiving tradition of black Friday shopping. Not me! After two days of cooking, cleaning and preparing for the Thanksgiving feast, my tradition is to relax and watch old movies. Actually, it’s a brand new tradition that I started this year. And, actually, I have not watched any movies yet because the internet is very slow and is taking forever to load movies. So, the tradition is being adjusted to a new tradition of writing a blog post while I wait for Bringing Up Baby to load.
The highlight of Thanksgiving this year was that we ate one of our turkeys that we raised. It was huge! After we cleaned it and got the feathers off, it weighed 25 pounds. I soaked it in Pioneer Woman’s favorite brine for 24 hours and then filled it with onions, oranges and fresh rosemary and sage from my herb garden. It was delicious, and worth the effort. I have to admit that my oldest daughter did the hard part, which was cleaning and skinning the turkey, but she agrees that it was worth it as well. It was tender, moist and delicious. My mother-in-law doesn’t usually eat turkey, but this time she went back for seconds. We may make this a tradition.
There were sixteen of us for dinner, which is kind of a small crowd. Most of my husband’s family is abroad right now, so we just had his mom and aunts and a family from church. The fellowship was great and the food was awesome. Afterwards we did a mini livingroom concert for them. I had an epiphany of sorts this year where I decided to do the bulk of my cooking the day before Thanksgiving. It made clean up a breeze! Josh and the kids all pitched in and it was done in no time. When we were done, I finally got to watch a Captain America movie. I am a fan. I might like it almost as much as Spiderman. All in all, it was a very pleasant day.
I took a little walk to enjoy some quiet time yesterday morning. I wanted to spend some time with the Lord, expressing my thanks to him. I am beyond blessed. I have a strong and happy marriage, awesome kids, great friends and everything that I could possibly need and want.
But, as I spent time with my heavenly father yesterday morning, I thought about how thankful I am for every season of life that I have had and will have.
I am thankful for my past. There have been difficult things in my life. There has been pain and loss. Even in those things, I have learned to be thankful for what I have. I have learned to turn to my heavenly father, instead of away, during painful situations. There have been needs. I was reading through an old prayer journal recently. In an entry from 24 years ago I was praying for a warm coat, winter boots and a place to spend Christmas. I read the entry from a few weeks later where I had been blessed with a coat and boots, and I had a nice Christmas with a family from church. Those were my secret prayers and I knew that the Lord heard them and loved me enough to provide. I learned to depend on God in the little things, and it launched a faith that has grown over the years. Maybe I could have still learned the lesson if I always had everything that I needed, but I am thankful that I learned to depend on my heavenly father as a young woman. I am also thankful that I know what it means to be in need. It has given me compassion and awareness of the needs around me.
I am thankful for this moment, right now. I probably have a tendency to write mostly about the bright spots of my life. It is mostly bright, but there are hard things as well. There are days when I long to hop in my car and drive to some secluded place where I can be in complete silence for a few days. The child training, and the refereeing and the striving for academic excellence is draining sometimes. Life has overwhelming moments. My husband says I make things very difficult on myself, the way I worry about ridiculous things. It’s true. But, in the midst of it all, I live a beautiful life, God is shaping me and using me, and I am extremely blessed. I truly have everything that I EVER wanted.
I am thankful for the future, which I can’t even see yet. I feel like a little kid who has a brightly colored, unwrapped gift in front of me. I have no idea what’s in it, but I’m thankful. I know that my father loves me and I know whatever is in there is going to be beautiful. I have, at times, feared the unknown. I might have eyed that present with fear and apprehension. But, I don’t feel afraid anymore. I feel hopeful and excited, and I am thankful for the future and all of it’s unknowns. I am aware that there will likely be heartache and disappointments, but I also know that there will be abundant joy.
I guess what I am saying is that I am thankful for where I’ve been, where I am at and where I am going. I know that my heavenly father has always been with me, is with me now and will continue to be with me in the future. God is good all the time. He is faithful and steadfast, and I am so glad that I have learned to trust him.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the Lord, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the Lord is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
This Psalm about sums it all up for me! Above all, I am thankful that I am his. I hope that you also belong to him and are able to rejoice in that truth.