Friday, November 23, 2012

30 Day Gratitude Photo Challenge: Week 3

I hope this post finds your belly full and heart filled with Thanksgiving.  We've had a wonderful week packed full of special moments.  Allow me to fill you in through picture. :)

Day 17 Weather

Saturday we hosted our annual Friends Thanksgiving.  Hosting meant we were in charge of the turkey and everyone else filled in with traditional holiday sides.  Since I nearly poisoned my entire family 11 years ago attempting to make a turkey, I have PTSD :)  But, my hubby and I tag teamed.  He prepared the turkey and I put it in the bag, added the flour, and put it in the oven. 

When our friends arrived, the smell of the bird combined with the brewing apple cider made for a warm welcome, although that wasn't totally necessary considering how oddly warm the temperature was.  People everywhere were putting up their Christmas lights and loving outdoor fun.

Together with our friends we laughed and chatted and, once everyone was seated, we took turns going around the table to say one thing we were especially thankful for this year.  I LOVE these people to the core of my being.  They are the friends that have seen me at my worst and love me anyway.  They are the people that are consistently there when tragedy strikes and will be all about celebrating when good news breaks.  Every one of these people is a gift in my life.

This is, without a doubt, one of my favorite EVER traditions.  When we started we were all young adults new to grown up responsibility with tiny whisks.  Now we have added maturity, more utensils, and a kids table. :)  We are blessed.

Day 18 Change

On Sunday, we eagerly made our way to church to celebrate the baptism of our newest God-daughter.  I'm always humbled when people trust us to pray over and encourage their child in the faith.  And, this baptism felt extra special because our friends had been without a church home.  After a VBS invite and chat around a s'mores making evening this summer they visited services and decided to join. YES!

When I saw this little beauty in her white dress. tears filled my eyes.  There is tremendous power in the baptismal water of change.  We are claimed as a member of God's own and leave the font with hope the world could never provide.

Day 19  Laughter

Hannah's only day of school this week was made extra special by the fall party.  After a fun craft time and playing pin the feather on the turkey to wear them out, they children sat down for a treat.  Aren't these adorable?!  Laughing as they gobbled their food at one another, the adults couldn't help but chuckle too.  So. Very. Fun!

Day 20  Food

Tuesday was Grace's last day of school for the week.  Since little notes make this child extremely happy, I had this ready to meet her at the breakfast table.

Day 21  Home

Over the years I've realized that pleasing aroma's can make a house a home and open space feel like a sanctuary for all who are gathered inside.  As soon as November hits, this is one food I'm ready to make because it'll make your house smell better than a candle and your taste buds burst with happy.  If you're celebrating Thanksgiving yet this weekend, add these pumpkin chocolate cheesecake bars to your menu.

Day 22 Color

For Thanksgiving we enjoyed a meal with extended family at my aunt and uncle's house.  Afterwards, we put up our Christmas tree and then decided to surprise the kids with an outing.  We all put on our PJs, piled in the van, picked up hot chocolate, and went to view the thousands of lights at Falls Park.  It felt magical to take in their brightness with the people who color my world most.

Day 23  Energy

With a family Thanksmas this weekend, it is perfect timing for my mom and grandma's Christmas candy baking day.  We crashed their tradition and I offered some helpful little hands + I taste tested the caramels, you know, as a public service to make sure every row in the batch was good. :)  I also made Erin and I's famous peanut butter balls to have Saturday and Sunday.  Four generations of women bustling around the kitchen made for a lot of energy...and cherished memory making.

I pray that you could see God's hand at work in your life this week too.  As I write this, I'm well aware that the lives of some, including people I care about, are shaded with heartache and uncertainty right now.  That is part of the human story this side of heaven.  But, in the midst of all, God meets us where we are at and offers His loving presence - a gift for us all.  And, dare I say it, if it was the only gift we ever received, it'd be enough to grow gratitude this Thanksgiving week and always. 

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