Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It's also been one of the most traditional. Here's my classic Thanksgiving Day tradition: 1) Being home with my family, 2) watching the Macy's parade, 3) watching the dog show, 4) having a fire in the fireplace even if it is 60 degrees outside, 5) watching my mom flit around the kitchen in her apron all day, cooking and smiling, 6) getting dressed up even if we go nowhere, 7) having turkey and pumpkin pie, 8) working on a puzzle/project with dad, 9) playing music with Kevan and digging out our favorite Christmas albums, 10) watching It's a Wonderful Life.
None of those things happened this year - absolutely none of it. I woke up this morning and felt a little bit sad that things were so extremely different, with no semblance of anything familiar. But at the same time, I wouldn't have traded the gifts of yesterday's celebration for anything.
My friend Anna is here visiting me from NC, and that is a huge gift. I got to be with Hannah too, and she has been one of the greatest gifts in my life in the past year - my Samwise Gamgee. And I couldn't help but think about last spring, and how I didn't think I would live to see this Thanksgiving, or at least that I would not still be living and thriving and growing in Fort Wayne. What a dark time in many ways, but it is such a testimony of the Lord's power and faithfulness and mercy to me, so even for that three-month time - what Hannah and I affectionately refer to as "The Curse" - I am truly thankful.
This Thanksgiving, we picked up six of our dear teen girls and spent the day with them in the kitchen and around the table. We decided that since the first Thanksgiving was about people coming together across cultures to thank God for his love and provision for all of them, we should do that here. So we made sambusas, chipote bread, wontons and wonton soup, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry spread, cranberry and orange scones, and southern sweet tea. The air was filled with spices and fried oil... and it was delicious! We watched Beauty and the Beast together, and listened to Indian music and of course, Justin Beiber... who we are all quite thankful for. ;)
I loved watching the girls work together, giggling and singing and talking. I am so thankful for each of them, and the precious times we've had together. I'm thankful for the ways I've seen them grow and mature and blossom into lovely young ladies who are learning what it means to really love. I'm so glad the Lord brought me to this city and gave me these friends. I'm thankful for this year, for all the crazy times of danger and heartbreak and joy and change and peace and adventure, and for the overwhelming love and grace I have received.
After the girls went home, we were quiet for a long time - watching from our big front window as our neighbors draped Christmas lights on their houses, drinking tea, and working on sewing projects like the Jane Austin characters we imagine ourselves to be. No, it wasn't traditional at all, but it was beautiful and rich.
Today we had apple pie for breakfast. Today the Christmas music playlist is being compiled. Today my thanksgiving can't stop. While the feast and the party is over for now, the tradition of thanks is daily, constant, and it just keeps overflowing...