Thanksgiving, made a US federal holiday by Abraham Lincoln in the midst of the Civil War, is still a day set aside to stop the striving, shopping, doing (unless volunteering to feed the hungry and shelter the cold) in order to JUST BE…with family, with friends, with our Creator from whom all blessings flow. The older I get the more I am determined to gush with gratitude—the reason I started this “Rich Life” blog—because being thankful in the moment, for the moment is one of life’s greatest blessings.
I’m watching The Macy’s Thanksgiving parade where I just saw a Broadway performance of ” Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from The Sound of Music. At sixteen I was performing there with my school as my Mama Sargeant and Granddaddy watched from Hoptown, Kentucky. Earlier I was also thinking of all the years my mom, dad and sister ate Thanksgiving dinner at Mama Lou and Grandaddy’s, then watched The Sound of Music, an annual tradition. My favorite song was “My Favorite Things,” and while I’m no Julie Andrews, I’m about to sing praises for the past year…
for a quiet moment on a bench in a town outside of San Jose, Costa Rica. It was my first solo trip abroad where God showed me life is all about seasons.
Like last winter when my best gifts included floppy ears, kids coming home, and family around the table.
I am thankful for a best friend getting married
and the girls whooping it up in the mountains to celebrate.
For another birthday on the first day of spring, serenaded by students playing kazoos, eating Asian Nachos and taking a spin with salseros.
For hiding Easter eggs and watching for company who will come to find them.
For a summer sendoff where seniors said bye with a Dead Poet’s Society “Oh Captain, My Captain” refrain. I’m grateful for their sweet surprise.
I’m thankful for writing in summer, Ella on the swing beside me, breezes filled with magnolia blooms and herbs
and fountain whispers.
For going off the grid far away to Puerto Viejo
and near on a Tennessee farm.
I am thankful for discoveries, like how to make chocolate from cacao. My new Bri Bri friend, Priscilla, and her mom taught me.
And for experiences at home, like my first Quinceañera. My friend invited us to celebrate his niece’s big day. He also promised to give me his recipe to this amazing dish.
I’m thankful for seeing my once-Little One laughing with little ones and helping them with homework in the fall as they begin school and life.
I’m thankful for celebrating milestone birthdays/fun with friends who don’t let rain dampen the day, challenges ruin their lives, or daily demands keep us apart.
I’m thankful for a new school year with students who enjoy volunteering, learning about other cultures, and sharing their own.
For teachers (like a parent of two of my former students) who teach kindergarten children to read. And this year, especially, for moms of her students who are teaching me Spanish as I teach them English.
For former students who return from New York University, then Palestine to teach my students about caring for moms and children on the West Bank. The world came to Nashville; then we, on fall break, went to see the world.
I’m thankful for learning and teaching how to appreciate life past and present– whether under big city lights on a grand scale
or local illumination.
I am thankful for beauty in the new and the old,
for the romantic and the realist,
for beauty in all forms from windmills to waffles
Moments to savour from Tennessee to the Caribbean to Belgium.
I am grateful for the familiar in the exotic, and the exotic in the familiar, like the same moon over France and Tennessee,
Chilean tea in Nashville,
and farmland in Europe and the midSouth.
I’m thankful for friends getting engaged, a promise of great things to come.
So I just finished my go-to Thanksgiving dessert–pumpkin cheesecake with butterscotch topping–and it doesn’t look so pretty. Still I’m thankful that things don’t have to be perfect to be all good. (Romans 8:28)