I type, sitting on the couch, under a Christmas blanket, with my left arm smashed against my side by the weight of my three-year-old. She dons a blue and green Tinker Bell pajama shirt, white leggings, and a pink hairbow while she sucks her fingers and watches Tinker Bell fly away from a large hawk. Big girl sits beside her in heart socks, a soft pink night gown, and her baby sister's zip-up hot pink hoodie that barely covers her elbows. The Christmas tree lights shine bright against the darkening winter sky. All is snug and right with the world.
Even though it isn't.
My man does homework on Thanksgiving, all day, emerging only for lunch. His sister lies in a critical care unit receiving copious amounts of antibiotics to fight an infection that has spread throughout her body. Her two-day-old, two-month-premature baby is several corridors away in the NICU. A momma's heart hurts and Thanksgiving meal is understandably postponed. My parents, siblings, and their families are together, hours away, helping each other through this first Thanksgiving after Dean's passing.
There are books to be read, papers to be written, tests to be taken and the never-ending interruptions of life. There is a health to be given. A heart to be healed. A life to be written. Holes to be filled.
And still I am thankful. Thankful Dean is in heaven. Thankful God has a plan for a little two pound baby boy who is lying protected by a plastic incubator. Thankful for the doctors and nurses and medical equipment and knowledge that can see him through. Thankful for the advances in medicine that have made my sister-in-law's situation a little less dire than it would have been even ten years ago. Thankful for a man who works hard and studies hard and plays hard and loves hard because he knows his God-given role as provider, leader, protector and lover of three girls' souls. Thankful for a peaceful day at home, a Thanksgiving "feast" as my sweet big girl called it, and time to snuggle on the couch, play games in the floor, and read books in bed.
But most of all, I am thankful for a little five-year-old princess who acknowledged last night that her true identity is a child of the King, accepted that she needs a Savior, believed that her King-Father sent One, his Son, to die and save her, and chose Him as her Lord because she knows He loves her and will only guide her in the way that is best for her. So grateful for her kick-off to Thanks-Christmas.
When life is up-side-down and hard and painful and interrupted, thanksgiving--the act, not the day--makes it all right side up again.
All is right.
Sometimes His blessings come through raindrops.
The last-minute change of plans meant my man, my girls, and I would be enjoying Thanksgiving meal at home this year. I had a bought a chicken to roast and contribute to the meal we had planned to eat with my mother-in-law. So, I mentally dug through my cabinets to figure out what I could use as sides...
A box of mac'n'cheese. M'kay. Eggs. 'Kay...will devil those. A loaf of bread I had made this week. Good. And some fruit. Awesome. Chocolate Fudge Pie? No. No pie crust. No time to make one. Dessert might not happen.
I oiled up the chicken, stuffed it with lemons, thyme, rosemary, and parsley and slid it in the oven. Boiled eggs for deviled eggs. Chopped apples and oranges and tossed with candied cherries and marshmallows to make a fruit salad. (Thanks, Granny Ingy for introducing us to this yumminess). Poured apple pie filling in a square baker, topped with half a box of a yellow cake mix, sprinkled with cinnamon, and covered in butter for an Apple Crunch Cake.
The Chicken came out, the cake went in. The mac'n'cheese was cooked, the eggs stuffed, the bread warmed, and the table set. My girls helped squeeze lemons for lemonade and we poured it into wine glasses for a fancy touch. We lit the candles and ate our Thanksgiving feast in pajama's. I don't think I have ever had a better Thanksgiving meal. And I'm certain we can't top this one. Simplicity and special touches made this Thanksgiving one to be remembered. Memories were made today.
Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.
I will enter His gates with Thanksgiving in my heart; I will enter His courts with praise.
In all things give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
May this day be the beginning of a long season of thankfulness for all God has done for us. Beginning with the ultimate gift of Jesus Christ our LORD!
Happy Thanks-Christmas everyone!
From one tired, blessed sister to another.
If you are interested in an easy, fool-proof roast chicken recipe, click below. Seriously. If I can do this, anyone can. I can not cook chicken, ask my husband. And, yet, this recipe comes out perfect. Every time. Friggin' delicious.