grateful

Thanksgiving this year was easier than most, given a new strategy for smaller dinner parties, house-by-house, followed by an all-family dessert. This modification wasn’t my idea but I think it was a good one.

Preparing for Thanksgiving is a lot of work, no matter how you slice it. The day comes and goes in a blur of cleaning and cooking, bustling and baking and eating, inevitably too much. I have a hard time downsizing any meal, but especially so when the World’s Best Stuffin’ is involved.

This Thanksgiving was unique as we celebrated in a home no longer our own. We closed on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Now we’re houseguests, watching our new home rise quickly on the adjacent lot. This week,  windows and hopefully doors. Heating and plumbing can’t be far behind? We’re just a few weeks of fast tracking from the Big Dig to a Big Move. Fingers crossed!

The past few months have been inordinately stressful. As autumn winds down and Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close I feel tired but also grateful.

For a loving partner in marriage and life, 35 years and counting.

For five beautiful and vivacious grandchildren who brighten our lives. For their parents, who chose to live and work in the North Country and bless us with grandbabies.

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For our own parents who extended grace to us through our growing pains. For our moms, who carry on bravely.

For siblings who are also girlfriends. For girlfriends who are like siblings. For aunts and cousins who are women of courage and faith. For the opportunities to connect with all periodically, especially in person.

For the ability to read and freedom to write. For a formal education. For lifelong learning opportunities — all too often taken for granted in the good ol’ USA. For home office privileges in a job I enjoy, working with colleagues I admire.

For the four full seasons we enjoy in the North Country and — especially this year — for a mild autumn so conducive to construction!

For the beauty of the day and rest in the night. And for you also, I am grateful.

This old hymn says it so much better, eh?

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth,
For the beauty of the skies,
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies,

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the beauty of each hour
Of the day and of the night,
Hill and vale, and tree and flow’r,
Sun and moon, and stars of light,

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

For the joy of human love,
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth, and friends above,
For all gentle thoughts and mild,

Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.

~ René Morley

 

Hymn Text: Folliott S. Pierpoint, 1835-1917
Hymn Music: Conrad Kocher, 1786-1872

thanksgivingness

It’s dark yet, the house quiet, fireplace roaring against the chill. The Hubs left hours ago. I procrastinated a bit before stumbling to the kitchen to set the rolls to rise. Those frozen rolls take forever to rise! There’s no point trying to rush them in a warm oven; inevitably, it backfires. They turn out flat and ugly.

Next up, World’s Best Stuffin’, if I do say so myself (and I do). Then maple roasted butternut squash using a new recipe this year (whereby I also learned a handy trick for peeling the stubborn outer layer). That should keep me busy ’til almost noon.

I’m getting off easy again this holiday. Last year we began the hopeful practice of rotating Thanksgiving dinner locations when my daughter took it on. This year, our younger son’s in-laws are hosting. I’m happy to take my turn again, someday. But I am really delighted for a break, two years running.

Thanksgiving is a lot of work. Even if you like to cook; even when everyone brings something; even if they bring wonderful food and generous quantities, it is still a lot of work! I am thankful for the abundance of food we will share and those who prepare this feast today. I know not everyone can say the same.

There are lots of things to be thankful for, certainly. Beyond the essentials, a warm and safe habitat, clean water, nutritious food, and stable employment (which truly is, sadly, saying a lot), “real” people with whom I enjoy “real” relationships always top my list. I hope you know who you are and that I am thankful for you.

I am thankful for those family and friends who have consistently shown up in our lives. I’m thankful that neither time nor distance is a barrier to maintaining relationships that truly matter. There are no words to adequately express the richness of a journey so graciously blessed.

For the first time this Thanksgiving, I can also say that I’m thankful for two grandboys and another grandbabe on the way. Who knew grandchids would be such a blessing? They fill my heart with such joy. Rumor has it that today we learn if a grandgirl or grandboy! We welcome this wee one with hearts full to the brim of thanksgivingness.

Warmest thanks-giving blessings to you!

Psalm 100

A psalm of thanksgiving.

Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation

~ René Morley