Two years ago, I tried to prepare Thanksgiving while I was bleeding and miscarrying. It was the very beginning of a long battle to health.
Last year, we celebrated, but I was still very sick and healing.
This year, I felt myself returning to normal!! I felt joy in celebrating not just joy in enduring. It was quite ridiculous that in the midst of my celebration of health and independence (Todd was out of the country most of November) I found myself on a dumb cot in the Syracuse ER. Again, so Thankful for responsible kids, soo many good friends and family members, and fast airplanes that quickly returned my husband to my side prior to any operation. My neighbors and my sweet sister in law (who drove up from CT to be with me for the weekend) saved my life- again. How I love them.
We still have only guessed as to what caused 5 hours of sharp pain... Either ovaries, internal bleeding, kidney stones, or diverticulitis (intestines). I thought it was food poisoning. I'm currently "tracking my menstral cycle" which is a humorous thing to ask someone who has had a hysterectomy. Moodiness is my only symptom and I'm afraid I might be moody from now until Christmas, or at least until they tell me there is nothing wrong. Ha!!
Anyway-- I felt healed and able to conduct this Thanksgiving.
I loved having my mom in town for a week!
We haven't seen my younger siblings for over four years!! It was so, so, so good to see them again. They had never met Eve or Ben, they had never heard Lily talk! I'm certain they got a bit overwhelmed with little kids-- but there was healing in togetherness.
Todd invited over one of his international students. How fun it was to share new foods and tradition with this good man. After dinner, I sat talking with him while my children, brothers, and husband cleaned up. He said, his favorite part of the evening was seeing how we all worked together. He explained how in his country only the women serve. His own father helped out, but that was rare.
I loved that he could be in our home to see my good, hardworking husband. I love that he could join us for family prayer and as we recited the Burn's Grace together.
My mother is one of my greatest heros. What I do very best I learned from her. She is a magical teacher of young children, she is one who pushes forward with faith, and she is a truth seeker. Despite enduring a nasty, heart wrenching divorce, and being diagnosed with MS, she has endured with grace and class. My mom loves much and never gives up. It was so good to see her again and to feel like we were almost (one sister and her family didn't come and was sorely missed) all together again.
I really enjoyed time with my brother Matt. For years he was a smart, strong atheist. He had some beautiful and holy experiences that ignited years of intense study and has produced a conversion to mono-theism and Christianity that is inspiring and humbling. I have always adored this little brother of mine. I love how his mind works. I love his goodness. I am a better person because of our deep spiritual discussions. It was so fun spending the holidays with him.
My brother Aaron felt so European. They are all just returning from four years in Germany, but Aaron has the most European style. He's such a sweet uncle to my kids, and has a gentle spirit. It is fun seeing my baby brother (born the week I left for college) all grown up. He doesn't travel without his guitar and plays the piano whenever there is a free moment. He flips in the driveway, and unbuttons his shirt low enough that his cute nieces are always reminding him that he missed a button. How I love this cute boy.
My baby sister Amy is just one year older than my oldest. She has always been my beautiful, happy, sweet littlest sister. We are a lot alike and it was fun showing her that she does look like her family. (She insisted she didn't look anything like her siblings.) We had fun talking and shopping together on Black Friday. And, my girls STILL adore their cool, young, beautiful aunt. Our family is better because we have Amy.
I love being together with family.
I love good, harvest food.
I love friends.
I'm so grateful to be alive and healthy enough to serve.
I am so grateful for the kids in my home.
Leah and Lily are so into Settlers of Catan-- it was fun having them join us in adult games.
Jakob is so independent- I can give him any recipe and he makes it beautifully.
Drew is the most thoughtful and helpful kid-- constantly asking what he can do to help. It is SO helpful!
Anna is magical with her younger siblings. She teaches them, feeds them, dresses them, comforts them, etc.. It's beautiful to watch.
Ellie creates masterpieces. This year it was banana cream pie-- she just got an idea and created it with great skill.
Leah is busy doing good. She's so smart and fun to be around. I loved how mature she was as we played game and what good sportsmanship she showed.
Lily is determined. She gave a beautiful, confident talk at church, she reads well and frequently, and she buys development cards like they are gold!!
Eve is happy and adorable. Playing dolls all day, singing, and dressing up.
Ben is an adorable bundle of trouble.
He is the cutest little feisty boy. He's going to be absolutely ridiculous with a Christmas tree.
Oh-- life is good.
I am full and grateful!!