The traditions begin.
At 6:30 am, I talked with my prayer partner, Julie. It was our annual day to remember all the answered prayers through the year. I looked back over a year’s worth of pages in my prayer journal and saw how God had done great things. We prayed prayers of thanks to One who hears and answers our prayers.
I’ve started feeding the birds since harvest is over and cold weather has descended upon us. I call them in the morning, “Come on birdies,” and they are beginning to recognize that I am friend, not foe. It is something I do in the fall and winter months. Feeding them provides so much enjoyment, plus it reminds me how a faithful God cares for me.
The cooking frenzy has begun. The cranberry relish is prepared and waiting in the fridge. It is one item on my list of Thanksgiving food to prepare. It gets better as it sits and marinates in the juices of orange and sugar.
Butter is getting soft on the counter in preparation for Sour Cream Cake, one of my mother’s recipes. It continues to be a family favorite. I have to pull out my big mixer for this cake, the only one that can handle the thick batter with ease. I will wash and dry the perfect-size plate that fits the cake. It was a wedding gift to my parents in 1942. The gold edging is almost gone but it is priceless to me.
I started my yearly Joy List this morning. I will add to it throughout the day and tomorrow morning, perhaps even through the weekend. The list gets longer every year, and why not? God gives so many gifts that I cannot count them all, though this week I try.
Sweet William and I make calls today and tomorrow, wishing friends and loved ones a blessed day. It is good to chat for just a few minutes in the flurry of activity. I sent texts message to sweet friends who have enriched my life in so many sweet ways. People are the best gifts of all.
Tomorrow we will gather with my cousins and their children and grandchildren. The house will be full, loud, festive. We will quiet long enough to pray and give thanks to our great God who gives us so many, many blessings. We will eat the best food in the whole wide world (my family are good cooks!), and we will talk and laugh and catch up with one another as families do. This only child is grateful for extended family.
I will remember those not with us at the table this year, my dear dad who is at home with Jesus now and my family-too-far-away. I will remember others who are missing family members this year, trying to learn how to do life without them. And I will say a prayer for them because I know what loss feels like.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for so many reasons. It is the beginning of the end of the year when stress can rise and suck the very life out of us. But on this day, I will still my heart. I will look at the faces around the table and enjoy the moments.
And I will give thanks.