Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanks Be to God

The holiday seasons always have a way of sneaking up on me.  They're always here before I know it and each year I can be heard saying "I can NOT believe it's almost (insert holiday here)!"  It blows me away how quickly each year flies by.  And each time I say it outloud I can always bet on an older person warning me that it will only get faster.  I'm not sure that's possible.  Is there anything faster than warp speed?  I constantly beg my kids to stop growing.  I try to take time to stop and look at them, watch them, absorb their every move, breath and word into my memory bank, to see them how they are right at that very second.  I hope to never forget those captured moments.  But I do.  Looking back on old family pictures my heart swells to see my children as babies.  It wasn't that long ago, but I forget so easily.  I wish I didn't forget.  (Note to self: need to purchase video camera.)

But with each day flying by at warp speed I am thankful for the holiday seasons because I can bet on at least one day of rest and reflection.  All of the preparation comes with stress and chaos as we decorate the house for fall and eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving day, then tear is down and start over for Christmas.  We are very fortunate because each year we go to my mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving and my in-laws graciously join us.  Sean and I couldn't be luckier to have two sets of the world's greatest parents...and they all get along!  Ha!  Anytime someone asks what we do for holidays, I mention that we were all together and I'm always asked, "Oh, so both sets of parents get along?"  I'm usually surprised by this question, but we hear so many stories of people our age having to go to 2, 3, and sometimes 4 different dinners to be able to see all of the families!  We are so blessed to be able to share our holidays with our families joined together.  We're one, giant, crazy, laughing family.

And then with the passing of Thanksgiving, Christmas lurks around the corner.  I love this time of year.  I absolutely LOVE this time of year:  Christmas music on the radio, people decorating their homes inside and out, malls over-stuffed with people, Salvation Army bell ringers making me feel guilty that I don't donate to every single one of them, each department store's ads boasting they have the best sales, Christmas candies, Christmas parties and more time with friends and family. (As if I needed an excuse!)  I love my family.  Even if I see them every day to once a week or once a year, I absolutely enjoy getting to see every single-crazy-one of them. 

I love having people in the house and getting ready for parties and everyone wearing their Christmas best!
I love decorating our house with pine garland and being able to smell it when I walk in the house and to illuminate our living room with only the twinkle lights from the Christmas tree.  It feels like a special time of year because it is a special time of year.  It's the one time of year that we get together with my parents on Christmas Eve and eat the fattest, juiciest, plumpest, jumbo king crab legs you've ever seen.  If that wasn't filling enough we wash down the crab legs with a thick, beautiful filet, stuffed baked potato, burgandy mushrooms and Caesar salad.  If I ever had to have my "last meal" or if I get to eat whatever I want in heaven, that's my choice right there.  Every Christmas Eve I thank God profusely for creating the king crab.  Sean swears I was a sea creature in my formal life!

Pastor Gary said something during a prayer once that really stuck with me.  He prayed for God to allow us to feel again.  It struck me as odd, but I realized how heart hardened people have become that they can hear about staving children but can't fathom what that actually means.  I think a lot of people take Thanksgiving for granted.  Yes we say all the right things, we are thankful for our families and our friends, and the roof over our heads and for the military fighting for our freedom, but do we really FEEL it?  Feel it in the pit of our stomachs and the depths of our hearts?  I join Pastor Gary in praying that we, as super-busy-material-lusting-bargain-shopping Americans will be able to actually FEEL thankful for what all we've been given, and mean it.

So this holiday season I am making it a point to slllloooowww doooowwwnnn.  A familiar scripture keeps popping into my head lately, "Be still, and know that I am God."  And I usually laugh.  Be still?  I'll be still when I'm dead.  But I've been called to be still, to know God, and maybe through taking a step back I will be able to better FEEL the thankfulness and love that I have for all of the wonderful people and things that I have in my life. 

I'm thankful for the two hands that I have to be able to type out my words and publish them to the world.  I'm thankful for the heart that so strongly beats in my chest.  I'm thankful that I have two functioning legs and feet so that I can get out each day and work my body to a sweat to keep it healthy.  I'm thankful that I have loving, supportive parents who raised me and gave me away to a man who does the same for me every, single day.  I'm thankful for two strong, healthy kids who take me to my wit's end then completely fill me with joy and pride in the next second.  I'm thankful that even though I'm currently jobless God has given me a gift that I'm able to share with others to bring a little more cash into the home and that not running off to work has allowed me to spend more time with my children.  I'm thankful for friends who can laugh with me and at me all in the name of love.  I DO have a lot to be thankful for...and I'm not just saying it.  I know it.  I feel it.

During this Thanksgiving break it took me three days to get down all of the fall decor.  Not that I actually had SOOO much decor, but because we have been visiting with family and resting when we can.  I've also been feeling guilty for not writing on my blog.  (gulp)  So now, it's Sunday evening and I'm all caught up.  Now I will get the Christmas boxes from the garage and bring them into the house.   If we're lucky, maybe a few things will actually get put out!  Baby steps, people!

Until next time.  Mwah!

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