Just give thanks


So many blog posts and magazine articles floating around this week.  Well-intentioned admonitions to give thanks deeply, creatively.  We are inspired to live these glory days of Thanksgiving beautifully, modeling this extravagant full-heart gratitude for our children. And then we feel the pressure to document it too, add a filter and a Bible verse and share it on Instagram with a few hundred of our closest friends "to encourage them."  

Don't get me wrong, sometimes sharing and tweeting and passing it along is simply an overflow... but other times it's not.  Sometimes we're just busy living our Thanksgiving in the everyday ways, with shirt sleeves rolled up, and that's okay too.


There are holidays when we're just doing life - real life - good life - with store bought cranberry sauce.  Serving up Pillsbury pre-made sugar cookies and a pie from Marie Calendar's with a can of Redi-Whip.  Because not every holiday is glamorous, and no amount of cropped, filtered, uploaded graphics can make it anything other than what it is. Real. Life. With happy, dirty kids out in the backyard wearing their everyday clothes.





Here we are, only a few days before Thanksgiving, and I have half a dozen blog posts I started and then never finished because I've been doing Thanksgiving school parties, making little party-favors with pretzels and candy corn and a simple ribbon curled up around a bow.  Too many crafts and errands and sporting events to fit one complete blog post in.  And tomorrow morning we're leaving for a little family vacation before arriving at my mom's house for Thanksgiving Day. So I'm doing a few more loads of laundry tonight, and as the dryer hums and the washing machine spins here in my laundry room / office, I'm Thankful that I'm not spinning.  So Thankful, in fact, that I went in and deleted each and every half-written Thanksgiving Day post I'd started.  Instead I'm just going to tell you and me both this simple truth.


Be Thankful....


Wherever you are - Whomever you are with - Whatever you've accomplished, or didn't accomplish - The groceries that have been bought and the recipes that you've decided to let slide - The family and friends you will see and those you won't be able to fit into your holiday plans this year... Be Thankful. This is your Thanksgiving Day pass to just give thanks.





Pass it on...



I give thanks for my children


Your kids are hitting milestones quicker than the fastest shutter speed can capture. Just yesterday that miracle you birthed took his first steps; you blinked and he was running. How did he go from that swaddled lamb that smelled of baby powder and sweet peas, to this big human with personality and leg hair? Yeah, that goofy kid with the lopsided grin, the one who used to wear Yoda ears to the grocery store, is now wearing skinny jeans and a baseball cap, running ahead to join his friends. I know it's the natural order of things, but still my heart constrains. Because while the days seem long, the years are flying by!




There he goes, flying through the air and sailing through my life. Till the day arrives, sooner than we think, when he's grown and gone. And so today, here in this season of giving thanks, I'm stopping the clock and lifting up my heart, giving thanks for each one of my children.


Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. - Philippians 1:3


Every curl, every cuddle, every movie night with long limbs splayed across my lap. Laughing and clapping and singing "Everything is Awesome" one more time. Each maple syrup kiss and poolside popsicle, each chocolate covered face that's known the inside of a brownie batter bowl. The books we've read, the balls we've thrown; long walks and nighttime talks. Belly laughter rising as Tom chases Jerry. Their peaceful silhouettes traced with silver light, playing Legos by the big window in the living room. And the trail of toy animals down the hallway like a celebration parade.   Because each day is a celebration, when we thank God for them.


Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. - Philippians 1:3


Today I'm bringing out my Thanksgiving decorations; hanging them on walls and setting them on shelves. As I tenderly and purposefully find a home for each one I'm amazed that all these holiday keepsakes reflect my children. Hand crafted cornucopias and painted plaster pumpkins. How appropriate, as these children are my harvest blessings; my fruit and my joy.

And every time I look upon the craft, the photo, the memory… my heart wells up with Thanksgiving all over again.

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. - Philippians 1:3


They were 1,3, & 5 when I bought this large canvas and a few small bottles of acrylic paint that coordinated not only with fall tones, but also the interior colors of my home. I painted the the sun in the sky and the first green hill , then sketched lightly with a pencil where each of their paint slathered arms would press down tree trunks, each of their hands would create branches, where each of their fingers would stamp leaves, and tiny pinkies for apples.




Immediately an heirloom! I pull it from the closet each fall to adorn our holiday home. It comes complete with memories of us making it together. This picture heralds Thanksgiving, as regular as the falling leavings. And I can't pass it in the hallway without a silent, Thank You rising from my heart.


Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. - Philippians 1:3


Each year our church's preschool and kindergarten classes make these silly Turkey hats during Thanksgiving weekend services. I just realized now that with my youngest in first grade, the turkey hat era is officially behind us.


thanksgiving image


But they're keepsaked away in scrapbooks and frames and in my heart's treasure trove of memories to remind me… to remind me… to give thanks.


Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. - Philippians 1:3