I know... that's a lot of food for three people. We will have leftovers for the weekend while I decorate the house for Christmas... and I will freeze much of the dressing to serve to my family on Christmas Eve. It's still probably too much food... but I come by this habit honestly... and we all know that old habits die pretty dang hard!
I haven't done the 30-days-of-thankfulness thing that some have done on Facebook, but I would like to stop today and note some people - and things - for which I am incredibly thankful.
First and foremost, I am thankful for my salvation in Jesus Christ... and for all of the "glorious blessings" that God has given me (as noted in Ephesians 1:18 - my scripture reference for today's devotional - see Aunt Deb's Attic for more). God has truly "made a way" for me when I saw none... over and over and again... and I know that He will never fail me. I am so grateful for His tremendous sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ, so that I could enjoy such freedom from sin... and so that I am guaranteed a seat at the Great Thanksgiving Table in Heaven, alongside so many loved ones who have preceded me.
Beyond this, I am thankful for:
- Greg. He blesses me every single day. God chose him for me 42 years ago, and I see His hand in so many things that have happened to us along the way... and how every time, Greg was right there to share them with me - the joys, sorrows, struggles and triumphs.
- Elaine... aka "Grandma E". I truly do count my mother-in-law among my dearest friends. She and I can talk about anything... we can sometimes read each other's mind... and I don't know what I would do without her. I love her so much, and I am grateful and honored that she will be at our Thanksgiving table today.
- My mother. I will miss Mom today, as she is spending a few months in Kentucky while Lee does a stint as a Workamper at an Amazon fulfillment center. But my mother has shared a lot of her talents with me - and many insights along the way. I know that she always has my back, and I love her dearly.
- Marla Ann... my dearest friend in the world... my sister in the truest sense of the word...and my rock more times than I can count! I love you Marla... I miss you today... and I hope you and your family have the best Thanksgiving ever!
- Timothy, Zola and Nathan. I love ALL of our nieces and nephews. But I have to say that these three little ones have taught me life lessons I would never have received otherwise. I cannot remember what it was like without them in our lives... and I cannot wait to see them again. I hope that their Thanksgiving Day is magical and filled with making memories.
- My cousin Natalie. There are people you know... and people you KNOW... and my precious cousin totally gets me... and I get her. And you cannot put a price on that! We have shared amazing things... weddings, births, holidays, deaths... and "life"... and I cannot imagine not having her by my side for all of it. There are long stretches where we both are so busy that barely a word passes between us. Then a texted photo will appear (no caption necessary)... or a message will be exchanged... and it's like no time passed. I know she always has me in her thoughts and prayers... and it's ditto for me.
Along with Natalie come her two precious children... Olivia and Owen... both of whom light up our lives on a regular basis. They rank right up there with Timothy, Zola and Nathan in our book... and we love them to the moon and back. And not to be forgotten are Natalie's mom, Janette... another "sista girl"... her husband Darrell, her brother Franklin and his wife Tracy - and their darling little girl, Harper. I love my "Fallshed" contingency with all my heart... I miss their cornerstone - my cousin Eddie - every single day... and I hope that they are stuffing themselves silly today in honor of him and my dad, because I know that THEY are surely doing the same in heaven!
- Our siblings and their families. Between us, we have one sister and two brothers living... three nieces, a nephew, four great-nieces, and three great-nephews (with another baby on the way). We don't see many of these folks often (even though some live right here in town!)... but we love each of them dearly and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.
- My extended family and friends whom I love like family. I am truly blessed to have a large family. I only have one living aunt - and no uncles still living - but I was blessed "back in the day" to be surrounded by many who loved me and nurtured me. Today, I have cousins who are dear to me... and countless friends who are "like family". For all of these, I am grateful and blessed... and I pray that this will be a spectacular day of Thanksgiving for each of them!
- Finally, I am thankful for good health... for retirement... for a beautiful place to call "home" (and I'm not just talking about our house and our panoramic view)...for my two "cat-children", Mabel and Lucy...for our church family... our community... and for the chance to share Jesus Christ with others each and every day.