My Grown-Up Thanksgiving List

I love the Christmas song My Grown-Up Christmas List in which the singer wishes for a better world, a much more sophisticated request to Santa than the selfish desires of her youth.

It got me thinking about my own list of things to be thankful for and how much that’s changed since MY youth.

Of course, family and friends remain at the top of my list.

As does God, but in a much more REAL way than the abstract Guy in the sky of my childhood. I no longer feel that “way up there” separation but feel Him next to me always.

But there are more things that I’m extremely grateful for, things I took for granted when I was younger:

  • Still having both of my parents with me (so many of my friends my age do not)
  • Having had the love, memories, and influence of four amazing grandparents that I know will be with me in Heaven one day
  • Growing up in an era that embraced God, community, and traditions
  • Growing up with parents and other relatives who loved me, spent time with me, never gave up on me, prayed for me, and made me who I am today
  • Living in a free country (you take it for granted until your liberties become threatened)
  • Friends that are willing to put forth the time and effort to sustain connections even though we are miles apart
  • The way God made me (intelligent with childlike wonder, slightly weird, extremely compassionate, creative, loyal, loving, passionate)
  • The fact that I can see these positive things about myself without self-deprecation
  • The ability to lie down at night and sleep peacefully
  • A mind filled with happy (and detailed) memories from the past, a mental storage facility for tougher memories- accessible if needed but out of my line of sight any other time
  • Building new relationships with my grown kids and watching as they settle into their own families
  • Grandkids! They’re right…we should all have them FIRST!
  • My dogs, who allow me to still be a “mom” every day but still give me the freedom to lie around and read all day if I want
  • My church families…both the one I have now and the church I grew up in. They both helped shape me into the woman I am today.
  • A husband who doubles as a best friend, loves being Grandpa and dog Daddy, and fiercely loves the Lord

I hope you have a list too of wonderful things in your life!

Happy Thanksgiving!!


From Last Place to First on My Fave Holiday List

I’ll confess: I wasn’t that big on Thanksgiving as a kid.

There were two main reasons. One, I was pretty spoiled and there were no gifts, making it a boring holiday for me.

Two, I was a very picky eater and Thanksgivings were filled with decadent dishes that made my stomach turn. A small slice of white turkey meat and a spoonful of macaroni and cheese (as long as it was made partially by Kraft) and I was done.

I think I’ve just solved the mystery of how I stayed under 100 lbs for over 20 years and now can’t seem to get the needle to stop climbing. I thought the scale was defective. Now I’m sure I’m just making up for decades of lost Thanksgiving meals.

Who knew that sweet potato casserole had that perfect blend of sweet and savory? You know, when I said that in my head I heard Ryan Gosling’s voice from Crazy, Stupid, Love. You might have a problem when you apply a love line from your favorite rom-com to a food item!

Or green bean casserole! There’s a reason everyone shows up with that dish! “Who brought the green bean casserole?”

The list goes on and on…stuffing, cranberries, yeast rolls, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, pies…the food is amazing!

As an empty-nester, preparing a Thanksgiving meal fills that maternal need I’ve missed all year. Even if, as is the case this year, I’m serving adults who have nowhere else to go, I’m still taking care of people. I miss that sometimes. Being needed. I pour my heart and soul into Thanksgiving.

I started preparations extra-early this year. I’ve ordered invitations; I’ve bought all of my dry, non-perishables. I’m doing trial runs. In fact, tonight I’m making a homemade cranberry sauce for the first time. If it goes the way my new cookie recipes did yesterday, I’ll have one more thing to cross off the menu. At least we will still have turkey and dressing!

But the main reason Thanksgiving moved from last place to first on my favorite holiday list is that I now truly understand thankfulness. It took me many years but I see God’s hand in my entire world. From the home he allowed us to build to being married to my best friend. For healthy and happy kids and grandkids to still having my parents in my life. I talk to them every day! Talk about gratitude…He not only restored those relationships, He’s helped me nurture them to a place I’d never dreamed possible.

I find delight in the mundane. Where I once thrived in the chaos, He made me a new creature. One who is so at peace with life that I know it is only by His hand.

I absolutely love my life.  I’m so thankful for everyone and everything in it.

And I get an entire holiday to celebrate that!