Thanksgiving Prayer

My heart is seeking
A place of safety
Not to hide
But to sing
At first, quietly
To myself
Until joy that
Runs deep
Becomes
Overflowing
Gladness, and
I can sing
Out loud
With confidence
Hearing my voice
As it mingles
With others
Looking not to
Stir up conflict
Instead, pursuing
Lasting peace…
My heart left full…
Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will look very different for most of us this year. Mine will be nothing like those of my childhood. At least forty people gathered in my Grandparents’ small house. Everyone would fill their plate and look for a place to sit. It really didn’t matter if it was a chair or a spot on the floor. Even outside on the porch if the weather was nice. All that mattered was being together.

Although those times are long past, the memories are forever inscribed on my heart. I always look back with a smile, grateful for my growing up years.

But there is no denying the difficulties this year brings.
It is my hope we can find ways to express thanks while also acknowledging those difficulties-joy mixed with our sorrow.

Sincerely wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving! ❤

Tomorrow’s Memories

Traditions washed away
Left with a choice-
Create new ones
Or spend hours
Grieving the old
Left with a choice-
Sprinkle drops of
Sadness on those
I love or shower
Them with love
That transcends
Traditions
Left with a choice-
Allow the temporary
To weigh down or
Be lifted up by
Treasures of
The heart
Mingling joy
With sadness
While celebrating
The mysteries of
Faith, hope, love
Family, friendship-
Understanding
Today’s choices
Will become
Tomorrow’s
Memories

Coming & Going

This Labor Day weekend, I am looking forward to an extra day of rest following the two first weeks of school. I need to relax and take care of myself. Part of that care includes time with family.

That is one of my first thoughts when it comes to holidays-who is coming and who is going.

This time, Gart and I are staying put. Though not always the case, a welcomed choice this weekend. Even after our recent extended time here, we need to be home. Sleep in our own bed, sit outside in our own backyard…welcoming the ones who are coming.

On this Saturday morning, the house is quiet. Our youngest, the last one at home, is at a friend’s. Our daughter, who recently moved out, is traveling. Our oldest and his wife will be here this afternoon.

Witnessing my kids at this age causes me to reflect on my own younger days. Days when I was the one always coming and going. Days when my Mom and Dad were the ones staying put.

It’s a funny thing, seeing myself through my parents’ eyes. Waiting patiently to hear about a friend, that recent trip, or to actually be together in person.

These are the moments that remind of the beauty of life-moments of growth and understanding. Realizing what a privilege it is to be the one staying put. To be the one watching and waiting, experiencing all the comings and goings from my front door.

Presents of Presence

My birthday is rapidly approaching. It falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving this year. My oldest son, Robert, was born on my 27th birthday. This year, he turns 25 and I turn 52. I am always happy when we can celebrate together.

Robert called yesterday about last-minute Thanksgiving plans. He also asked what I wanted for my birthday. I really could not think of anything. “Since we will be together for Thanksgiving, I thought we could celebrate,” he said.

Later in the evening, I told my husband about our chat. He quickly responded, “Did you tell him his and Erin’s presence here for Thanksgiving was enough?” No, I had not thought to say that.

Reflecting on those conversations caused me to consider the idea of presents. My thoughts quickly turned to presence. The older I get, the more I realize the preciousness of someone’s presence in my life.

The occasions when all my kids and soon-to-be daughter-n-law are together, sharing the same space and time? Those are the times I am truly filled with joy and contentment. Instances when I share space and time with my parents? Feelings are the same.

I could go on and on. The presence of aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends remind me how quickly time passes. And time spent with them, even when brief, is a gift.

Just this morning, my daughter was reviewing our plans for the next few days. Thanksgiving dinner, birthday lunch with a friend for me, a movie outing for her. Then she smiled and said, “Don’t make any plans for Sunday.” I don’t know what she has planned, but I know it involves her presence.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. Our home will be filled with good food and laughter. But more importantly, it will be filled with presents. Not ones which require unwrapping, ones which allow embraces.

Embraces which say:

I love you
I've missed you
I'm so glad you're here
Your presence is the best present I could ever receive