Tuesday, November 6, 2007


It’s November. It’s been warm, but that hint of campfire smell that comes with fall is in the air. The radio stations have completely bypassed Thanksgiving and moved on to Christmas (and I have to admit, we have been listening since the day after Halloween! We love Christmas music). But here we are, a few weeks away from the holiday that calls us all home, not for presents or wrapping paper or decorated trees, but for family, warm smells from the kitchen, our mom’s apple pie.

We have the tradition to trade off houses for Thanksgiving. One year at my mom’s, the next at Shane’s. This gives us the best of both worlds, it seems. At my mom’s, the house is bursting; my parents, me and my three sisters, two husbands (and sometimes an extra ex-husband; hey, he’s still part of the family!), our combined 13 children, my married nieces’ husbands (quantity: two) and their babies. My mom cooks and cooks, and once we sisters throw in our culinary offerings, the result is a lot of noise and food and kids and love.

On the other hand, dinner at Shane’s moms is a quiet affair. It will just be us, Vonnay and her boyfriend Phil, and Phil’s sweet mom Margaret, whom we have adopted in our hearts as a grandma and great-grandma. Here, the tradition of going around the table and saying what we are thankful for will precede the prayer, and more than one of us will bow our heads with tears in our eyes. Quiet one year, chaos the next. I am grateful for both, because they contrast one another so completely.

But here I go again, spilling out words that don’t say what I intended. Thanksgiving Day, as wonderful as it is, as much as I look forward to it, will come and go. The food will be prepared and eaten, the leftovers warmed up that night as we bemoan our bursting waistlines, and we will move on to the next holiday. But the things that make Thanksgiving Thanksgiving are always in my heart, regardless if it is the 4th Thursday of November. Hopes for my family’s well-being and happiness crowd my heart. Desire for a peaceful life is in my prayers. Laughter at the silliness of my boys echoes in my house. But the business of Christmas comes so fast, and tends to diminish the feelings of gratitude that come from that day. If I save it all up for just one day, it goes too fast.

So, it is my goal this year to feel Thanksgiving for more than one day. I want to fill the next few weeks with the things that I am grateful for, so that when the day comes, I can feel that it hasn’t come too soon: Thanksgiving Day will be the culmination of a fortnight of gratitude. Therefore, I am going to try a few new things to add to this wonderful season. I don’t know everything I will do yet, but I have a few plans. One that I can commit to now is to put something on my blog each day that I am grateful for. Another is to tell those around me how I feel about them. Maybe I can even mend a few bridges, (we will have to see how brave I am; some stones are better left unturned, but you never know until you look!) Hopefully, my efforts can make this a great Thanksgiving season, bursting with warmth and love and hopes that are inherent in it.

So, is there anything you are wanting to do to make this holiday special?


Jeff and Kayci Bitton said...

Good post! I know I am wanting it to go by fast, but I most definitely want to make the most of the time I have to "be here now." To enjoy the time I do have with my family and friends!

Amy Sorensen said...

There's an entry at Segullah about this very thing. http://segullah.org/small-epiphanies/neglecting-november/

Your post reminded me that last year I put a gratitude at the end of all my blog posts during November. Thanks for reminding me, I'm going to copy you and start this tomorrow!

Kasandra said...

Becky, what a beautiful post!! Here in Canada Thanksgiving is in October, wish I had read this then! I usually do all the cooking so don't stop long enough to be grateful.... we did have the missionaries over though and they always bring a wonderful spiritual thought..... and I love to make pies and Thanksgiving I go all out. I think my family will remember pies before thankfulness, so maybe I better work on that!
Soooo, found out you and Amy are sisters... how did you both come out with such wonderful writing ability!! I envy the closeness you have as sisters.... isn't it nice to be envied!!! lol.... my sister lives far away and we talk maybe every 2 years, isn't that awful. Anyway, love your gratitude idea, I keep mine in a little journal by my bedside table but maybe I should use my blog more! take care.....from Kasandra