Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving (in Georgia)


Thanks living.

Giving thanks.



But, really, how do you say thanks?  Because I honestly just can't even find the words.  And I don't usually have a problem finding words!  But I can't even begin to put words to the feelings in my heart. 

There's that old hymn . . . Count Your Blessings . . . name them one by one.  Count your blessings, see what God has done.  Count your blessings.  Name them one by one.  Count your many blessings, see what God has done.

But in all of the naming and the counting, I could never name and count them all!  They are TOO MANY to name and count!  I'd miss something, I'd miss someone.  Again, I just don't have words that are adequate.

But blessed, indeed, I am!  I don't always act like it or sound like it.  I complain sometimes.  Maybe more than sometimes?  But the naming and the counting, I am convinced, chase all the fears and tears and frustrations and sadness away.  Because the naming and the counting of them all can't help but lead you straight to the throne room of WORSHIP.

You know . . . 10,000 reasons for my heart to find . . . Bless the Lord, oh my soul!  Oh my soul, worship His holy name.  Sing like never before, oh my soul.  I'll worship His holy name.

"The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy."  ~Psalm 126:3

This year we went to Georgia for Thanksgiving.  It was a quick trip for the most part, and we tried to make the most of it.  Pop and Mimi got to see and hug and hold all of their grands together at the same time for the first time in a year and a half!

Not even 15 minutes into the trip and not even to the Mississippi River Bridge yet, this little one pipes up, "Are we almost there yet?"  I mean, and how many times have you made this trip?!  I thought we were in for a long one, but Kindles and DVD players saved the day on that one.  I even finished reading All the Light We Cannot See.  I think it was definitely one of our better driving days.

The next morning we visited my grandmothers.  The nursing home was already decorated for Christmas so we took a few pictures in front of one of the trees.

And notice our boots and tunics and sweatshirts?  Yes, it was rather chilly!  It was the first time all of fall that I wore boots and a sweater and didn't sweat to death!  And look at sweet Ellie with her arms around her bigs!

Pop didn't go with us on this trip so the kids got a picture with Mimi.

We visited MeMama first.  Boy, was that a trip.  But, at almost 99 years old, I guess she's entitled to give us a vacation or two!  But I will always remember her by tromps through the woods, mud pies in the driveway, fishing off the bank of the pond, snapping beans, playing checkers, getting into her makeup and high heels and those crocheted afghans.

And then we visited with Grandmother.  You know, I used to could have conversations with her even though she didn't know me anymore, and I had no idea who or what she was talking about.  We could still talk.  She would smile and laugh at me.  But this time it just wasn't possible to have a conversation with her.  Oh, Grandmother.  You will always be sun tea and place cards and beaded Christmas tree ornaments and Dallas and white house slippers and family around the dining room table.

When we got home, Pop was so proud that he'd hung the outside Christmas lights.  Mimi was excited about the WHITE lights they bought on sale for $1.00 at the end of the season last year.  But Pop forgot about those and put the color lights out.  So his little elves helped him take the colored lights off and hang the white ones instead!

What I didn't get a picture of was my husband actually stringing the white lights around the bushes.  Seeing as how I've been begging for outside lights at our house for, oh, I've lost count for how many years now, I told him that must be good practice for what he could do when we got back to Louisiana!  He didn't even crack a grin.

That night we had supper and a good time with our sweet friends and their two boys.  The children were so busy playing, and we were so busy talking that I didn't even get any pictures of that evening.

The next day (Wednesday), Rob and Kristi and the boys came over for Thanksgiving supper (Daddy had to work Thanksgiving day).  We got to meet Jase for the first time.  He is 13 months old now.  Mimi wanted a picture of all the grands together.  And, believe it or not, I think we did pretty good in under a minute!

But Jones was cracking me up with his silly faces!  He has grown SO MUCH since the last time we saw him.  He's in kindergarten now, and he's smart as a whip!  I think he really enjoyed playing with Mason, and Mason enjoyed playing with him.  Mason is the big dog with the Connell first cousins.  He's the middle dog with the Bayham cousins so I think he enjoys all the attention of the oldest here.

And I think we got a pretty good picture for Mimi, too.

Hannah Kate LOVES holding babies.  She was so proud to hold Jase (although he's definitely more of a toddler now).

And Mason was hot-to-trot to hold Jase, too.  I kept telling him that he had to let Jase warm up to him first.  And it didn't take long.

And then we got to eat.  Mimi did it all!  Man, I love Thanksgiving food at Mimi's!  Dressing with cranberry sauce, sweet potato crunch, squash casserole, macaroni and cheese, green beans, butter beans, creamed silver queen corn from the garden, strawberry-pretzle salad.  And there was turkey, too, but I didn't eat any of that.  It's all about the sides for me!

My contribution was a homemade from scratch (including the crust - because that's a BIG DEAL for me) black bottom pumpkin pie.

It was topped off with maple syrup spiked whipped cream and chocolate shavings.  Yes.  It was THAT GOOD!  Honestly though, I could just eat the chocolate ganache layer and call it a day!

Not too shabby for a gal who doesn't particularly enjoy baking!  I have to say that it really did turn out nearly like the picture in the magazine!

Thanksgiving morning I insisted we watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.  I also insisted that the channel could not be changed to any manner of football game or otherwise until the parade was over.  Now.  My people do not seem to appreciate or enjoy the parade as much as I do, but that's okay.  I really think one of my bucket list items is attending the parade in person one year!  But something tells me that if that's going to happen, I'll be watching it by myself!

And, speaking of babies, we also got to meet and squeeze our newest little cousin that afternoon.  Hooper Dean was exactly two weeks old.

Did I mention that Hannah Kate LOVES holding babies?!

The next morning we headed out early and back to Louisiana.  There was something about the return trip that was really long this time.  Let me just tell you.  I felt ALL NINE HOURS of it!  And then after unpacking and putting away and starting laundry, I went to church to decorate.  I filled the sanctuary with eight trees and garlands and swags to make ready for the first Sunday's Christmas celebration.  And then on Saturday Seth and I went to the plant nursery to purchase as many poinsettias as we could fit in the back of the truck.

But by that time, I was feeling it.  And IT wasn't good.  I told Seth I had to go to the urgent care clinic so he took me.  I haven't been to the doctor (besides my ophthalmologist, dermatologist and dentist) IN YEARS.  I can't even remember the last time I went to the doctor because I was sick.  For me to go to the doctor, I have to be feeling REALLY bad.  And I was.  It took the doctor about 15 seconds to let me know how bad my ears looked and prescribe several meds, one of which has my brain completely wired and me feeling all kinds of crazy.  I've never in my life taken a steroid pack before, and I hope I never have to again!  Thank goodness tomorrow is the last day of that one.  I am SO. TIRED. but I can not sleep.  The nurse warned me that might happen.  But the doctor described it as, "This will definitely allow you to keep up with your kids."  (Because my exact words were, "I'm a homeschool mom, and it's Christmas time, and I don't have time for this mess so do what you have to do to get me better.")  So this last picture pretty much sums up the last three days.  I'm hoping that I'll start moving to the other side of it tomorrow!

Not only have I "kept up with my kids," but I even cleaned out and reorganized the pantry AND refrigerator yesterday afternoon in the midst of making my grocery list, neither of which needed organizing because they were already organized!  I should've been sleeping!

And so that was Thanksgiving.

What am I thankful for?  

My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the Bible, salvation and faith and grace and mercy and the God-Who-Sees, my husband, my children, my parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and nieces and nephews, my church, my Sunday School class, BSF, friends both near and far, health and strength and life, sunshine, rain, warmth, sweet tea, music, the food in my refrigerator and pantry, sunrises and sunsets, Sequitur Classical Academy, homeschooling, laughter and squeals and surprises, quiet times, flowers and gardens and tall, golden grasses swaying in the breeze, fresh air and clean, clear, cold water, rainbows and colors, pictures and memories, road trips and parties and time with my people.

Just to name A VERY FEW. 

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