The Art of Thanksgiving
Have you ever thought about why we celebrate this day, once a year? I know we've all been taught it was about the Pilgrims and the Indians, and how they made it through the summer and had a good harvest, etc.
This is all good, and we should remember those who came before, but I'm thinking now. Today. Traditions.
In the world we live in, we have so much to be thankful for. We have much, so very much more than many of those in the world. We have food, shelter, clothing, employment, freedom of speech, transportation of our own, families, etc. The list is endless.
I've been out of the country only a few times, and it's always been to Mexico or the Caribbean. To see how people live on less than $100 a week, in small apartments or shacks, struggling to put food on their tables every day, working at jobs most American's would rather not do -- it's amazing. It's very humbling, and it made me appreciate where I live even more.
At this special time, I want to share my Thanks with you. I came from a poor background; my parents both died when I was young and I spent most of my youth in foster homes. These homes were good, (wonderful by some stories I've heard) and I eventually found the parents that I call Mom and Dad.
The mainstay in my life the whole time was the knowledge of my Savior, Jesus Christ. Through all my trials and hardships, through all my joys and happiness, He has been there.
It's because of His many blessings that I can enjoy the life I now have. I have a wonderful loving husband, several happy and loving children, a home, a job, and many, many extended family members who love me.
If I were to pass away tomorrow, I would be a happy woman in the knowledge that while I wasn't perfect, I had made progress.
One of the things that has stood out to me in my transition from one home to another, was the traditions we create in our homes. One of those days full of traditions is Thanksgiving. I'm sure many of you have them -- who cuts the turkey, who cooks the turkey, who makes the best pies, etc.
Thanksgiving is a special time for me. I treasure the whole day with family, and the day is ripe with tradition. Each member has a special place in my heart for the joy they have brought. In the morning we go shooting -- which may sound strange, but having several gun enthusiasts in the family and a brother who is now retired law enforcement -- they like to shoot clay pigeons. I think it's a male bonding thing, but there are some girls that come too. The wives rarely come, which I find interesting.
I always go. I like spending time watching my brother and my husband interact with our children and their cousins and uncles. The married nephews and nieces in-laws have adopted the tradition with us and many of them join in the fun -- one of them even bringing their automated thrower. Everyone loves that, let me tell you.
Then we go home, clean up and head over to my sisters for dinner (when it's our year -- this year it's my husbands family, so we won't be going) and there will be a feast to both the eyes and the stomach. Children pretty much behave themselves, no one breaks anything, everyone helps clean up afterward, and we hang out until we're so full we can't possibly move anymore or until it's time to head home.
My children look forward to it every year.
We try to instill in them the idea of thankfulness, but I'm never really sure how much it sinks in. This year I think we're gonna talk about it the day before when we have our waffle dinner. (Which is another tradition.) Somehow several years ago, we decided we needed something simple the night before. My husband made waffles, and it has stuck. The children know they can count on them the night before Thanksgiving. We gather as a family unit and share our excitement, joy and love for each other.
I hope you have many rich traditions in your house. I hope you are teaching your children wonderful traditions that will live through their lives and bring joy to them and their children.
Hopefully it will be a tradition of love for the Savior and His gifts...as well as all the many blessings we enjoy in this free land.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Return to the Neighborhood.