Happy Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was my very favorite holiday.  That’s an odd holiday for a child to have as a favorite, but my mom always made it so special, and it began weeks before Thanksgiving Day.

She hung a picture of a cornucopia on the refrigerator door and every day we got to write something we were thankful for.  What a joy it was to get up in the morning and write on that cornucopia!  The first several days I would sneak in more than one thing, because there was just so much!

Cornucopia

After the usual same-every-year mentions of Family, God, the name of our pet, etc., that reined at the top of the list, came the creativity and heart of the thanksgiving project.  The part that really stretched my heart into other areas of my God-given life and made me reach into areas that would have gone unnoticed had I not been led there to discover things I was grateful for.

Thanksgiving Day came and it was the warmest, least hectic, beautiful day of the year, beginning with the early morning smells wafting through the house of mom’s turkey and pies baking, taking comfort in hearing her movement in the kitchen, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and family beginning to arrive.

The day was spent watching the parade with all of its colorful bands and creative floats, football, playing games, ice skating, laughter, and eating food that had never tasted as good as it did on Thanksgiving Day because we weren’t just eating food, we were sharing a meal with special people.

As I became a mom with children of my own, we continued going to my parent’s house for mom’s special Thanksgiving.  In my own home, however, I continued the pre-Thanksgiving magic of the cornucopia on the refrigerator door, my own children just as excited as I was to be able to write what they were Thankful for.

Now that my children are grown, I’ve carried the tradition of the giving thanks attitude of gratitude to my workplace, a place that often rains down with negativity.  Every year I make a colorful, fun poster to hang by my desk and send the “It’s time to be thankful” office-wide email.  I place the basket of markers alongside the poster and the fun begins.  People from all three floors participate in writing on the poster, and the things people are grateful for continue to amaze me every year.

The young and the old”er” of the office have found joy and wonder in that piece of cardboard called the Thankful Poster, and we’ve had some very creative things we’re thankful for, such as indoor plumbing.  Who thinks of indoor plumbing as something for which to be grateful if not for the encouragement of the poster? 🙂

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My mom, one person, by creating a thankful atmosphere in my home as a child, created a ripple effect of gratefulness to hundreds of people.  And that is something to be truly grateful for.  All is takes is one.  That one can make an an unlimited difference.

All is Grace.

The Journey

The street sign for "I Dream of Jeannie L...

The street sign for “I Dream of Jeannie Lane” in Cocoa Beach, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I remember when I was younger and our family would embark on a road trip, a car ride that could last five minutes or five hours,  my sisters and I would sing a chorus that consisted of  “Are we there yet?” And “How much longer until we’re there?”   Wherever “there” happened to be.

My patient parents would offer words to pacify us for as long as they were able.  Until one of us started the trio again. Often times it became a solo.  Apparently, my voice felt the need to be heard more frequently, demanding immediate arrival.

In fact, I had often wished I were Samantha from the TV Show Bewitched, so I could wriggle my pointed little nose and POOF!   We would instantly arrive.  Or Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie.  All it would take would be to cross my arms in front of me, close my eyes, nod my head, and the magic of time travel would have happened in the blink of an eye.

Instead, I irritated my sisters to no end belting out the same few words to a single song over and over  and over.  I remember especially liking the song “Delta Dawn,” much to my sisters’ dismay. Or “This Little Light of Mine.”  They didn’t seem to mind that one as much so it usually wasn’t as much fun.

Yes, I realize I’m dating myself, revealing that somewhere along that journey I wished away my youth into someone somewhat…older.  Though I prefer to call it seasoned rather than older.

The point being, things haven’t changed a whole lot. Except the age factor.  But I won’t get caught up in such minor details.

I still find myself impatiently waiting for the red light to turn green.

For the following week to finally arrive landing me a day off from work.

When that day off finally arrives, I watch the clock for a certain time of the day that a certain fun event is scheduled to happen.

Or eagerly waiting for winter to turn into the rebirth of spring, then into the warm lazy days of summer that turn out to be not very lazy at all.  In fact, before I know it I’m falling into the trees turned yellow, red, and the beauty that is my favorite season of all.

And it’s there I wish I could linger a little longer.  Have a little more time to walk, breathing in the smells of the fall air, listening to the leaves crunch beneath my shoes, coming in from a cool, brisk afternoon of outdoor fun to be greeted by the warm, comforting aroma of a roast in the crockpot wafting toward me as I open the door.

Autumn

Autumn (Photo credit: blmiers2)

And then its the excitement of the first snow.  And  the cycle begins its…cycle.

As I become more seasoned in life, I’m learning instead of waiting for time to fly by at a red light, I can take advantage of that rare moment when time stands still.  When I don’t have anything demanding my immediate attention, and listen to an audio book.  Or offer up a prayer for a friend in need.  Or a prayer of thanksgiving for all of the good things I have that don’t get the attention they deserve when I’m so busy.

I’m learning, heaven forbid,  that I can actually sit in silence.  Paying attention to each slow, easy breath.  Enjoying the bird that flies right in front of my window, free.

I’m beginning to learn that I enjoy sitting still.  And silence.  And sitting still in silence.

I’m becoming aware of all of the opportunities I have in which to pay God the reverence due.

Trusting that I am exactly where God wants me to be at that exact moment in time.

In the dead cold of winter, I’m learning to focus on the purity of the white snow, appreciating the warmth of the sun on my face, or the way the sun makes the snow sparkle crystals, looking like a layer of diamonds strewn across the backyard.

I’m learning that I’ve never truly arrived at the destination, because the destination I set keeps changing.

Rather, it’s about the journey.

As I get…seasoned…in life, I become aware of my surroundings exactly where I am, doing exactly what I’m doing, and appreciate that I am there.  At that exact moment.  With an opportunity to experience that exact moment in life.

To practice perseverance through an ongoing trial.

I’m learning that it’s in the journey that we truly live, experiencing the flair and tasting the flavor of life.

It’s in the journey that memories are made, obstacles overcome, lessons learned.

Heaven

Heaven (Photo credit: adyyflickr)

And it’s in the journey that I learn to truly enjoy the living.  The living that prepares me for my ultimate destination.

The only destination I need ever to strive for. Home with God.

Peace to You.