Thursday, November 24, 2011

Hold-over... Our Thanksgiving Longer

Why is Thanksgiving a day we remember just once a year? Our own American tradition is probably one of my very favorite holidays. It always gathers my thoughts of gratefulness from all year and overflows like bubbles in my kitchen sink. Every morning I'm thankful to be alive and have another day on this earth and always remember to tell my Heavenly Father.

 All not a bit fancy, but sharing the joy
of what Thanksgiving really is to our family

There's nothing like having lots of little children
with us to share this great day. We spent this afternoon 
at my niece's home, The Butler Family in Camarillo.

May the sun shine all day long,
Everything go right and nothing
Go wrong.
May those love bring love back to you.
May all your wishes really do come true.

All Thanksgivings with my dear husband and my brood of wonderful children have been the best days of my life. All that comes with living close to the Savior and knowing and recognizing the great blessings we have every single day and then making sure we tell our Heavenly Father how grateful we are for all things that we have in our lives.

Steve keeps beginning to rake the leaves and has to always stop because he's hindered by the early rain. I'm so grateful for the leaves on the ground. I think of the orange and brown that places a mosaic path all around our house and the pathways around the barn. The flat wet leaves have a smell I love and all blends with the black and purple sage that places the Autumn time within my whole being with each breath.

 I don't remember ever giving thanks at Thanksgiving until after I joined the Church. My dad may have said, "Rub-a-dub dub, thanks for the grub." and start to giggle. I can only think he wanted to say a prayer, but no one expected it and he was shy in saying anything too serious.

Overwhelmed By A Reluctant Large Turkey
One Thanksgiving my Mom, all dressed-up and even in heels, took a peek at her turkey and the whole turkey flew-out of the oven and scooted across the floor. All her family and my dad's family were there. My mom was so horrified by that accident. It looked so crazy and my mom's face just made all of us kids take-off outside to laugh so she wouldn't see us.

I don't know how my mom did it, but we ate the turkey. I know everyone had said to her that she should let the turkey-out for run-around... every time because it was the best turkey ever... and it was. I hope our family was grateful, but it often seemed to be a contest to which sister or auntie could have the best china, silver, decorations, and all dressed in their finest clothes. The day started with all of us children crying to eat and then stuffing ourselves to where everyone had to take a nap, followed by a huge football game, drinking, and then again at night everyone eating salted turkey sandwiches with mayonnaise and cranberry sauce.

It was always uncomfortable during those years and because we didn't know about the real reason for Thanksgiving, it was an awkward and strained day with all of the children looking forward to the next day of being lazy with no school and doing something fun outside. The weather is always perfect and we'd wear ourselves out.

In contrast, now we can't think of anything but our blessings. Our dinner is simple and our dress is casual. We do take pictures because there's always a group and a lot of us looking forward to our traditional meal and watching the children. My Steve cried while he gave the prayer this afternoon. We miss our children, only one of our children and family were able to be with us today. It's hard not having them all together with us, but we know that they need to develop their own traditions in their own homes in towns away from us. Our love and thankfulness for them still is as strong or stronger and I know they feel that... while they're away.

Our greatest blessings are in Heaven. One that I truly treasure is the chance I have to have the Spirit of the Holy Ghost. Our treasures are the Gospel and our Savior, Jesus Christ. We are blessed by our family, our children, grandchildren, and especially that we are sealed together as an eternal couple with the Priesthood of God in our home. We are an eternal family and that knowledge strengthens our lives to strive help and serve others.

My heart is full of blessings and every night before bed, I see my little silhouetted lambs jumping a fence and with the caption is blessings. Instead of counting my blessings instead of sheep like the singer Bing Crosby admonished us to do. I see the lambs with each blessing attached to the fleece. Graffiti lambs? Often my lambs carry messages of my great appreciation of our military service personnel, or even that we have hot water in our home, and a heater, that my husband .. is here and safe, or even our little canary, Sunshine, that is by my bed and blesses us. Sunshine sings each early morning as a beautiful signal that morning has arrived. I usually awake to hear him fluffing out his feathers even before his angel-like arias of sunrise. I never get-up until I hear him sing. I'm blessed with so many great and seemly small things in my life, but each are precious to me.

Gratitude Is the heart's memory.
French Proverb
The act of being grateful is the start of all the other virtues. We become humbled as we think of our blessings and tender actions follow to try and prepare ourselves to always be worthy to carry our blessings. We have so much unseen blessings and with the ones we see, our family and friends, fill us with joy.

I loved the comic Ziggy and remember the thought he sent to us. Now, every November as we cut our roses down to prepare for Wintertime and just before Thanksgiving, "You complain that roses have thorns or you can rejoice that the thorns have roses."

    "Thankfulness is that attitude of appreciation knowing the bounty
of blessings that we feel in our soul." quote by me.

**My wake-up--November 25th The day after Thanksgiving.
One Thanksgiving when Kiely was still at Mupu School and probably in 7th or 8th grade. All my other children were here to celebrate Thanksgiving at my mother's house. The group also included my brothers and sister and their spouses and some of my  nieces and nephews and they are not members of the church. My dad had been gone over a few years and my mother had baked and baked and baked tons of food. I know she must have worked all week getting ready for the event. Our family and all the little grandchildren comprised the majority of people attending. All the food was laid-out and golly, what a spread... just like old times. The table was beautiful with candles, brown turkey. It could've been a Rockwell Painting, but none of us had sat-down. My grown-married  children were still trying to settle-down their little ones and this went on for maybe five minutes, not really more than that... but my mom was tired and her huge Thanksgiving creations were getting cold. Pies could be burning.

My mom said, "Wait"  "Would you all hold-on for a minute?" in a loud enough tone (she was a police dispatcher and sworn peace officer) and when she was in that particular mode--we all stopped and looked at her. Who was she going to ask to give the prayer? No one had said anything like, let's wait until a prayer is offered or we won't eat. My children were just still flying around her big house catching wild children. We innocently waiting for her to ask one of us. We could have done the,"grab at closest little one near us--fold their little hands against them, and put our other hand over their mouth." That always works.

The surprise of my life happened when my mom bowed her head and said the most perfect Thanksgiving Prayer I've ever heard in my life. It was sincere, it was formal and began with Heavenly Father and ended with the closing in the Savior's name that Jesus Christ had taught us, how to pray. In perfect timing we all said, "Amen." She looked-up after a little bit to see all of us with our jaws dropped. I had never heard my mother ever say a prayer in my life.

My mother had never thought much of a Heavenly Father or a Savior because of the way her life had been. She didn't think there was a God. Was it desperation about her food at the moment? No. It has led her to many grand experiences within the Church including the final admission that she's half-Mormon. I truly miss the sisters in our ward that visited have visited her once a week, sang lovely hymns to her, and read to her out of the Book of Mormon, since her return from the Rehab. Hospital. They had blessed her for for over eight months. Mom has been really sad since they left and mentioned that the sisters were delightful and fun to have there at her home. My mom was able to have more than six sets of different sister missionaries and she loved everyone of them. I'm also thankful for missionaries. Through the missionaries I was taught, joined the church, and have been led to great happiness and faith. We will never forget the day my mother offered the prayer at Thanksgiving.

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