Oh, how wonderful to gather and share food, laughter, and gratitude. This year’s menu was pretty much the same, yet the atmosphere seemed different. I’m not a big home decorator or cleaner. So, an event can take a few days on and off to get ready for. Some lifehacks that helped me this year to enjoy and even dance and sing while getting the list done were the following:
Go to the grocery store on the Monday night before Thanksgiving. Most folks have already shopped, and who goes to the grocery store on Monday night?
Know what you are cooking, clean your fridge before heading to the grocery store, and only get the items you need on the list. We could cross some things we thought we needed off the list because we had them.
Divide and conquer. If you can go with someone, divide the list and turn your cell phone on to keep up with who got what.
Exercise first before cleaning. This got my head clear and my energy up.
Clean with headphones on, listening to your favorite songs. Sing and dance while cleaning.
Think about how you can do things differently–learn from last year. This one almost caused an argument. I can laugh today. Parish is more in the moment, and I, a Type A planner, can generate some exciting conversations. I was brave enough to insert my ideas, and he was kind enough, after a snarky remark and “I’m sorry,” to give it a try. This caused me to be more involved in the cooking, and I was able to support him. He has really tried to do too much through the years by himself. Planning ahead (my gift) and sharing my hands in the work turned it into a collaboration of fun and conversation.
The Menu (Recipes are on previous Thanksgiving posts, but send a comment if you need a recipe.)
We are so thankful to John for carving the turkey and ham!
Turkey on the grill and a turkey cooked in the oven the day before for extra
Sweet Potatoe Casserole (Rowan was the cutest–he helped mom, Carrie, make them. We loved the pictures.)
Mac and Cheese (Spencer was proud of his mac/cheese and went to several stores to get the right cheeses and purchased a new cheese grater.)
Brussel Sprouts (Check out the recipe! Those who are not a fan of the sprouts even loved!)
String Beans (Grandma Lorrie’s–the best!)
Rolls, Cranberry Sauce
Charcuterie Boards (John made the cute cucumber flower, and Kirsten decorated the board.)
Apples and Carmel Sauce
Ham (The cousins decorated the Ham!)
Lori purchased and brought the cutest crafts! Thank you, Lori! Sorelle loved the jingle bell. Adelaide adores any craft item. Thank you, Valentina, for helping Adelaide with the crafts.
We took our family picture and enjoyed the beautiful weather!
My favorite time was sharing what we were thankful for in our family circle. If you listen to what people share, you can hear their heart song, soul work, and how God works in their lives. For me, I prayed earlier that morning, and God showed me differently and freshly how strong my girls are. They have overcome, continue to move forward, and stand firm for their values.
I understood Valentina when she was “thankful for the food.” And, I was proud of her for recognizing the privilege and joy of continuing her education. My sister-in-law recognizes world events and those struggling to give thanks because of loss. We are grateful that Kirsten is with us–a UVA student. Vivian is thankful for her family, and Cody is grateful to be a part of the family and join the day’s events.
Sweet Adelaide came with her sore throat from surgery. Spencer Sr. stayed back with Spencer Jr. because he was sick. My mom, Louise, spent Thanksgiving with Harvey and Marie. I was so happy she could do something fun, and she was missed. I kept some balloons from Vivian’s baby shower and promised to decorate with them at Thanksgiving. We took their picture, and they hit their head on the chimes my friends gave me in remembrance of my daddy. We all smile and say, “Hello! Papa!”
The rain this morning, a fire in the fireplace, and still in my PJs is the perfect day after. Pip is curled up on the sofa, sleeping.
My mind is shifting from memories to present, to all my senses filled with nature, scents, and warmth. It’s all of it. No Hallmark stories over here. We are constantly shifting and adjusting and trusting. We believe that He will work all things–all things, Anna. Not just how you thought it would all turn out, but how God works things out and you trust in His love, not what your eyes and mind try to figure out.
I built a fire this morning from logs I purchased months ago. I open the box and find a cross with the word “Trust” written on it. I picked it up, turned the light on, and was shocked. “Parish, is this yours?” He tells me, “no,” and I realize the mistake that was probably made as it was dropped into the box by a worker, but the miracle for us and the implications of the message. I cry. We hug. I tell Jesus, “I love you.”