Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Giving thanks always..." Ephesians 5:20

Thanksgiving. As the turkey day approached and families prepared I was reminded as I often am, just how truly blessed my life is. I spent Wednesday helping my mom and granny prepare for Thanksgiving at their house. We always eat lunch in Callahan with Travis' family and then out to my moms for dinner. I figure the least I can do is be there to help prepare the day before. There's always the cleaning and tidying up that can be done, and then don't forget about all the food preparation. Mom still had her grocery list to buy, so off to Middleburg we went for the goods. Wal-Mart was crawling with people. As we walked the aisles I noticed that four out of five people that passed were grouchy, or just plain rude. How could this be? I mean, aren't we supposed to be preparing for a day of Thanksgiving and fellowship with our families and loved ones? It saddens me to know that we let the holidays over take our joy. We let the little things like the meal, the desserts, the things that really don't matter steal our joy.

We finished moms list, and headed back to Granny's. We immediately started the chores that needed to be done. My 82 year old papa sat on the couch and watched. I started to vacuum and he would lift his feet for me to go around him. I thought to myself how lucky I was to be spending such a special holiday with my Papa. He has seen so much in his life, faced many trials far harder then any I'm sure I'll ever face. He's a man of very few words these days. This was not the case just 5 years ago. Age has began to set in, he has the start of alzheimers disease, and he's just quiet now. I often sit and watch him as he stares off into the field, and I wonder just what is he thinking about. There is so much to be learned from this now quiet man, his hands folded in his lap as he rocks in his chair. I wonder if his health were better what would he be doing rather then sitting in that chair? Just his presence is such a blessing in my life. I don't know how much longer God will allow my family to spend with this sweet man, but I know that God knew I would need a man like this in my life. I love you Papa!!

The kitchen was beginning to fill with the aroma of different foods, and how could I dare ignore the smell of Big Granny's coffee brewing. This little woman, all ninety pounds of her, drinks coffee like it is going out of style. I don't think I've ever been to her house and not seen a pot of coffee ready for someone to drink, usually her! :) Speaking of things to learn from such a knowledgeable person. Neither of my grandparents went to college, or even graduated high school for that matter but the knowledge of life that they have inspires me. I watch Granny prepare meal after meal for our family and each time it amazes me how she knows just the exact amount of flour, sugar, oil, or water to add to any recipe. When I say that I love her home cooking that is a complete and total understatement. My favorite meal of hers would have to be tomatoes and rice with fried potatoes and don't dare forget that frying pan cornbread!!!!! I've watched countless times as she has mixed up the meal to make the cornbread. I ask her for the recipe so that I can at least try, she just responds with, "Jenny, it's just a dash here, and a dash there. I don't really know the recipe." That's not much help to a girl like me that needs step by step instructions!!! Back to the Thanksgiving preparations. Granny started me with the chopping of the bell pepper, onions, and celery for the stuffing. They usually give me something easy, because they are aware of my abilities, LOL!! I was grateful that I sat at that table cutting those vegetables. A night spent with my little granny, a night I'll remember forever.

While my mom and I were stirring around doing all sorts of things, Carter was running and playing with Uncle Faron. He loves being at Big Granny & Big Papa's house. Watching him run circles through the dining room and living room another memory from my past popped into my head. The many holidays that I ran that same circle. We were loud kids, knocking things over, giggling and laughing, but Granny never harped or got on to us. She just allowed us to be kids. I thought to myself how blessed I am that my little boy is now doing the same things I did as a kid. The circle of life I suppose, pretty amazing. Carter brings more joy to my grandparents then I ever dreamed he would. There is a little sparkle that comes to their eyes when we pull into the driveway each time. Then as it's time for us to go, the say "now ya'll come back in a day or two now!" They just adore the kid, and I think they are pretty fond of me too! :)

Driving home that evening, I thanked God for my family. For the peace they bring me, the lessons they've taught me and for the ones I've yet to learn from them. I thanked Him for the simplicity of our family, the genuineness of each person, the humbleness of my family, and for the blessings that each individual one brings to my life.

The next morning, I surprised myself by getting up early. My boys, Trav & Carter weren't too far behind me. The boys shared a cup of coffee, Carter's new favorite drink (it's mainly milk, with a little splash of coffee!). Carter helped me bake cookies, and then Travis helped him finish his Thanksgiving cards for Nana and Big Granny. My holiday mornings are usually chaotic, busy, and just frustrating. This morning was far different. We were all relaxed, and enjoyed the morning. I was even ready to go on time, can you believe that???? Me either, don't worry. We headed off to Granny Noni's to visit before leaving for lunch at Granny Pullet's house.

Lunch was superb! I must give my mother in law credit, the woman knows how to cook! The family gathered, we ate and just enjoyed each others company. Once again, I was reminded of how blessed my life is. I married the man I love with every beat of my heart, and his family is welcoming, loving, and warm just as mine is. If you must join another family, what better one to join then one like your own?! Travis' grandparents are just as precious to me as my own. There's Granny Noni & Papa Cotton that we live behind, and they are just good 'ole country people. Love everything about these two. I love their love for one another, their relationship and their patience with one another. I love that they share everything, they finish each others sentences, and still look forward to spending each day with one another. Then there is his sweet little Granny Vera, and Papa Joe. Quiet and observant, Granny Vera. The joker, Papa Joe. Papa has always teased me by calling me by some other girls name, and sweet Granny always greets you with a hug and wants to offer you a plate of whatever she may have at the time. Granny Vera reminds me so much of my late Granny Colea. Her house always ready to feed anyone that will take a minute to let her feed you, regardless of whether or not you are hungry. Papa Joe, he loves to watch the great grands play, and ride them on the golf cart. Papa Joe was recently diagnosed with cancer, and actually has his first chemo treatment tomorrow morning. This has burdened the entire family, but my prayer is that each of us finds a way to let go and let God take care of Papa. Our God is in control and we just have to have faith that all will work out. Grandparents are such a special blessing to each and every person, what would our lives be without them? I pray that Carter's little memory will remember these precious days with such sweet people.

Then we were off to Nana's. The tradition always the same, we're usually the last to visit for the day but there is always still more then enough food to fill our already stuffed bellies. When we arrived, Big Granny, and Nana were on the back porch. That porch is where we are usually greeted when we arrive. Thanksgiving day, Papa was inside though. He said it was getting a tad bit chilly for his liking. Our visit was nothing out of the norm, just a good visit, laughter and togetherness. The home cooking, and desserts were yummy! Nothing like going home for the holidays!! Carter was all about eating Tom Turkey this year. He ate a belly full at Granny Noni's, Granny Pullets, and Big Granny's house. I think it's safe to say the kid is good on turkey until next year! :)

Our day finished earlier then usual with us being home before eight o'clock. We had a wonderful day. A memorable day, and a day filled with many, many blessings. Whether those blessings were the family, the food, the fellowship, or whatever, they were blessings nonetheless. My heart is over joyed, and so thankful for every aspect of my life. I pray that each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your families. Now on to the holiday shopping and a season that is like none other!!!

Ephesians 5:20 "Giving THANKS always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Many blessings to all!

Much love,

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