Happy Thanksgiving Day

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Thanksgiving Day is more than turkey and pie although when it’s cooking and the aroma is filling the house…it could arguably be a good point. But what I love most about any holiday is the sound of family sharing and talking with each other.

A lot of families push to celebrate the holiday on the exact day which sometimes alienates other family members who can’t take the day off of work to be there. Many married couples are forced to make a choice as to which family to spend the day with. Why do they have to always choose one family over the other? Why not alternate so no one feels left out.

A holiday is special but what makes the holiday special is family. In our family we rarely celebrate a holiday on the actual day it’s on. We celebrate when everyone can be there.

I am thankful for my family that God has so richly blessed me with. Thankful for the love we all share, the smiles and the laughs…Just grateful for all the years I’ve gotten to share with them.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Hope it’s full of love and laughter. Treasure the smiles and never lose sight of the fact that it’s not the holiday that’s important…it’s your family. Don’t let burnt turkeys or forgotten casseroles spoil your day, whatever day you choose to have it on.

I am thankful for God’s blessings.

Pretend Tea

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When I was little I used to have tea parties with my stuffed animals around my table in the backyard. I’d dress them up for a special day and carry them carefully down the stairs to their seats outside. I would usually dress a bit frilly, putting on my leggings and a colorful play tutu skirt. My favorite was lime green. I even took the time to brush the knots out of my hair…well, most of them anyway before putting on one of each of my favorite sneakers. Then I’d head to the kitchen to get the special treats ready.

Daddy always kept ginger snap cookies for me and I was allowed to have four a day. But on Tea Party Day everyone got two cookies each on a pretty purple or pink paper plate. I would carefully pour water into the paper cups and tell all my friends that it was Pretend Tea, the best tea in the world. Then I’d sit and have my Pretend Tea and gingersnaps all the while telling my friends about the Fairy King and Queen that would soon come to visit…They always came in the Fall when the leaves were so pretty and they would race each other to visit me.

Sometimes Daddy would come home while I was having my Tea Day and at first he would look tired and annoyed. But then he’d change into his favorite jeans and put on his blue shirt then sit down on the rock by the table. I always had an extra cup of Pretend Tea just in case he stopped by to see us. He would ask me how we were all doing and if we were enjoying our treats. He was always kind to my friends.

We’d sit and chat about the Fairy King and Queen and how excited we all were that the leaves were giving them rides. He would be so tired from a long day at work, I could see it lurking in his eyes, yet he sat there at ease with me, smiling and sipping Pretend Tea.

I always ate more gingersnaps than I was allowed on Tea Party Days because my friends asked me to please have theirs since they were so full of Pretend Tea. Daddy would eat like six of them and I would eat eight including my own two.

We’d walk down by the water and he would talk to me about why the sky was blue and the water was a murky green in places. We’d look for squirrels since they would be kind enough to tell the Fairy King and Queen that I could play tomorrow since Tea Day had ran so late. Squirrels and Fairy’s were the best of friends and always helped each other out.

Dad would clean my table and I would carry my furry friends back upstairs to their shelf. I’d put Sabree, my stuffed tiger kitten on my pillow so she could keep watch over everyone. Then, I’d go downstairs and help Daddy with dinner.

I loved Tea Party Days because if I had them late enough in the afternoon I could always count on my dad showing up for Pretend Tea. Pretend Tea was the best I ever had because my friends and Daddy were gathered round. I only had those special days maybe once a week or less if it was Winter but each one was important to me.

I would do anything to sit with my Dad and have Pretend Tea again. He wasn’t perfect but at Tea Time all that mattered was that he was there. I miss him so very much….

Best Friends

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A best friend is someone that accepts you just the way you are, one that stands beside you on the good days and kneels beside you in prayer on the bad days.

I am so grateful for my best friend. God knew that I needed someone like her in my life and I am so grateful that He put her in my path. We are the best of friends and Sisters at heart. What a blessing God has given me.

Eleven years have passed and we are still the dynamic duo. Two of the things I’ve learned from her is how to be a good friend and how to find fun in life.

There’s always going to be both good times and bad times along life’s path but when you have a Sister that has your back, that prays with you and for you, life is a much better place.

I am blessed beyond measure by God and because of Him I have a best friend and sister to help me navigate life.

Kittens Oh My!

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I am so blessed to have such wonderful critters in my life! Two kittens bring a lot of smiles. Though they’ve grown and are now three and four years old, they still remain kittens in my heart. Love them so much!

Blueberry Candy Canes

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I used to struggle with loneliness and depression around this time of year thru the beginning of the next. It would just slowly creep up on me and the next thing I knew I felt like I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. I couldn’t fix anything in my life. I couldn’t fix anything in anyone else’s life…and the things I had been enjoying suddenly felt– gone.

The days where it was coldest and the sunniest were the hardest for me to endure because everyone around me was laughing and smiling with friends or family. I had no one.

The days of constant drizzle of rain felt like it was seeping into my soul and the tears I refused to cry or the one’s that just wouldn’t…swirled in the rain swallowing me.

At night I’d lay in my bed and listen to the rain pelt the window panes and listen to the wind rage at being denied access to my room. Some nights I’d open my window and get lost in the rain and the howling wind…falling asleep somehow comforted in the chaos of the darkness.

Then one day I noticed a homeless man sitting on the bus. He wasn’t wearing socks. I was headed home. I pulled my shoes off and took off my socks. I handed them to him and he put them on. The relief on his face as his feet got some warmth was evident. I smiled at him and told him good night as I got off the bus at my stop.

On another day, one of the ones that were the hardest for me, I noticed a mother and two children on the water front pier. The mother looked tired and stressed. The kids seemed happy enough. I stood looking out at the ocean and heard the little girl tell her mother that she was hungry. The little boy said his tummy hurted. She said, “I’m sorry. We have to wait until tonight when we go home.” The little girl said ok but the boy began to cry. I dug in my backpack and pulled out my wallet. I had $10. Would that be enough? I walked slowly over to where the woman sat comforting her little boy. The little girl was chasing a sea gull. “Excuse me, but, McDonald’s is just down the street. I only have $10 but I’d like it if you would take it and buy your littles and yourself something to eat. It’s warm in there…” I saw tears in her eyes as she reached for the money. I smiled at her and said, “Hope things get better.” I went to walk the opposite direction but took a glance back and saw the mother and her two kids heading to get some food.

On Christmas Eve that year I did something I had never done before. I went out and bought a hundred blueberry candy canes and a green Christmas Stocking the day before. On Christmas Eve Day, I woke up excited. I got dressed in several layers and put a couple of my extra hats and knit gloves in my backpack. I ate some toast and drank my coffee, a smile teasing the corners of my face. I went out and grabbed a bus heading to the waterfront pier again….it could be a cold and lonely place…I thought maybe someone needed a blueberry candy cane. I handed out all of my candy canes except for one. I even gave away the extra hats and gloves. I got on the bus to head home, it was already dark. I sat down in the back of the bus and waited for the bus to near my stop. Just before my stop arrived I noticed the homeless man that I’d given my socks to that one night. He was staring out the window, a sadness etching his face, his eyes glistening in the passing lights. I got up and held the candy cane out to him and said, “Merry Christmas” . He looked up at me, seemingly shocked that I was standing in front of him. “Is this for me?” I smiled and nodded. He slowly reached out and took the candy cane. “Thank you. It’s the finest candy cane I’ve ever seen!” He carefully put in in his ratty old backpack. “Merry Christmas to you too! I used to have a girl like you… she’s been gone 20 years now. But I bet if she’d had time to grow up, she’d have been like you.” I reached out and took the hand he had extended towards me and then I gave him a hug. He pulled the cord at my bus stop. He remembered from the other time. “See you again young lady. That smile looks good in your eyes.”

As I walked home that night, the Christmas lights had never been so beautiful and bright.

I’d had so much pain in my life, in my heart it consumed me, held me captive…the holidays had always left me feeling so desolate, so isolated…until that year when I began to learn to look outward and see the world around me. Sure, there’s people laughing and having fun, but if you take another look you can also see the one’s navigating the world much like yourself, you see pain and heartache, grief and tears. The beauty of seeing the world around you with all its good and sadness is that it allows you to rekindle the connection to a part of life that you’d lost. It gives you the strength to push through the consuming darkness engulfing you and allows a little sunshine and laughter in your soul. It makes you want to help others, to bring a smile when you can and to offer solace where it’s needed.

When God began to heal the brokenness in my heart and put the pieces of me that had been shattered from circumstances that had left me feeling powerless and gutted… it was when I was ready to let God in my life, in my heart. I had to be willing to reach out and take the candy cane that God held out to me.

Looking back to that time I feel a mixture of old sadness lingering around the edges. But then I remember and look about me. God has given me so many blessings…My family He brought into my life eleven years ago. And my two cats of course.

Holidays now mean family. One thing that I love about my family is that if we can’t all be together on the exact date of the holiday, then we plan a time when we can be. This is when Thanksgiving is. This is when Christmas is… when we are all together, sharing smiles and random bits of our lives with each other. A time of fun and games where we play board games together. A time where we simply enjoy our family time.

To many, family is flesh and blood connected through DNA. But for me, though my family and I share no DNA, we still have kinship because of the love that God has put in our hearts for each other. Family are the one’s who stand beside you as you navigate life. They laugh with you, pray with you and when you grieve, they grieve with you.

I haven’t handed out candy canes for years now but maybe this year I will–maybe even you will. Or maybe someone will give you a blueberry candy cane.