I love the flamboyant colors of fall, the smell of pumpkin muffins and scented candles, and brisk walks on nights when the sky is exploding with stars. And I love that we have a day specifically set aside for being thankful in the United States every November. In many ways it remains untainted by materialism and expectations that weigh heavily on other holidays. 
 

We decorate, but not overly much. There’s no obligation to send Thanksgiving letters, cards and pictures to extended family; you don’t have to buy gifts. It’s simply a day of food and family and friends—and being thankful for the many blessings we enjoy all through the year.
Kelly and I get to celebrate two days of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving day is at my sister’s with my side of the family. We will eat, talk, praise, sing, and if we get a break in the weather, go for our traditional after dinner walk. Saturday, our kids and grandchildren will fill our home with laughter and energy. We’ll do our traditional “3 things I’m thankful for” with candy corn, remembering the pilgrims. After dinner we all tend to break into pockets of conversation throughout the dining, living room, and kitchen, catching up and telling stories, while the little ones play and vie for attention.
There’s a sweetness in this relaxed family time that can’t be bought or deliberated. But I haven’t always been able to enjoy it. I’m a planner and doer by nature. In the past I was so focused on trying to make everything perfect that I missed the beauty of just being together. God is patiently taking my Martha hand and sitting me down to join Mary at His feet.
I recently finished reading Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, where she finds deep healing and the return of joy in life by making a list of 1,000 blessings from God. I took up the challenge. Of course there’s the obvious—food, clothes, housing, family, forgiveness, and fellowship with God’s people. But soon my list became more about details, moments, flashes of pleasure and delight. I am beginning to see how big the small stuff can be. 
I’m almost up to 800 but I’m not sure I want to stop at 1,000. My notebook’s not full yet. This practice is giving me new eyes to see life differently. 
I thank God for the gifts of:

  • The 10 minute snuggle time with Kelly between my alarm and his
  • The soft fuzz of our newest granddaughter’s baby hair nuzzled against my neck
  • Sharing God stories with others—our own, ones we’ve read or heard
  • Listening to coyote howls and yips through the open window on warm nights
  • A washer and dryer in our own home
  • Freedom to do the work I love
  • Colors—bright, vivid, muted, rich, ethereal, shimmering, transparent
  • Game nights with friends
  • Soft blankets and pajamas
  • Being asked what I think
  • Salted caramel brownies and pistachio almond ice cream
  • New drawer runners on the one-of-a-kind dresser my grandpa built for me
  • Stories of selfless giving, unwavering courage, undying faith

I could go on and on, and I’m sure you could too! What are you thankful for today? Whatever you do tomorrow, whoever you’re with, I hope you take the time to praise God in word and song for the many blessings He pours into our lives every day.
Happy Thanksgiving! 
 

first ripe strawberries of summer

beautifully crafted salad

picture texted from my husband of God’s amazing creation

early evening light on barn

rock pile discovered on hike

vibrant colors of fall!

 #thanksgivingthoughts #whatI’mthankfulfor #learningtogivethanks #gratitudechangesus