It’s the day before Thanksgiving. One of my very favorite days in the whole year. My kitchen, like so many others across the country (and around the world—I have friends in England, France and Sarajevo celebrating this year) is a scene of happy industry, the loved and familiar scents of sweet potatoes and simmering cranberry conserve mingling with that of the bright little fire on my hearth. It’s the sameness, the comfort of traditions and the precious times that they represent that make all these rituals revive my heart with the joy of a homecoming bird. The stirring of the great vat of sweet potato soufflé, so gorgeous with brown sugar topping it almost counts as dessert, which will feed around 25 loved ones over two separate days of feasting. The careful pouring of ruby-red conserve into waiting jars and the half-anxious process of the canning itself. The Karo syrup and the sticky sweetness of pecan pie and the glorious mess at the end of it all.

But as much as my homemaker’s heart adores all the sweet trappings of preparation, I know just how easy it is to get so caught up in getting ready for the holiday that I forget—even momentarily—what it’s all about. What specifically I have to give thanks for this year. And to Whom I owe it.

It’s for that reason I’m pausing by the fire this morning, while the sweet potatoes are cooling and the sauce is turned low on the back of the stove, to take stock of the year’s mercies. I’d love for you all to join me, to pour out a cup of tea or a mug of cider, and muse over our blessings.

I’ll start:

~I am so thankful for cold dog noses and warm, purring cats. For a barn-full of friendly beasts and for fresh eggs and soft wool and even for Margot the rooster who hates my guts. I’m thankful for the beauty and the joy that all of these animals bring to our lives. I’m grateful for the supreme compliment of their affection and trust. They are truly ambassadors of their Creator and ours.

DSC_7564

~I’m thankful this year for my friends. The longer we have walked together, the more tears we have dried and the more laughter we have shared, the more humbled I am by their steadfast love. The friends that bought my groceries and tidied my house when I had surgery. That did my laundry when I sprained my ankle. That will housesit for a month together and never so much as cross my threshold empty-handed. The beloved companions with whom there is never enough time, no matter how late we stay talking by my fire. The ones a dear older friend once called ‘Jesus with skin on’. The hands and the feet and the loving, tender heart of our Lord. I could try for the rest of my life and never adequately express my love and thanks.

IMG_1646

~I am grateful for the lovely autumn light that slants low through the pines from the west and fills my rooms with the gilding of an old masters painting. For sudden violets in the grass on a November day and for scarlet berries ripening on the hollies. For diamond-shot dawns and cedar trees materializing out of the mist and the delicate shadows of leaf patterns on the wall. For prickly chestnuts and fat brown acorns and the chattering squirrels that love them. For winging birds and ‘wooly bears’ and apricot skies and the hand of the Artist everywhere I look.

009

~I am grateful for my husband. I can’t even begin to say how much—both to him and to God, who for some reason chose to bless me with him. I am thankful for the way that he supports me in my dreams, and dreams them right alongside me, alternately affirming me and picking me up out of the mire where I’ve face-planted with “I can’t”, as the situation might require. Life with him is a beautiful adventure, an Open Road. For God’s gift, that put my best dreams to shame.

20091003_102632

Well, now that I’ve begun, I could literally go on all day. But that conserve won’t make itself. 😉 We’d love to hear from y’all, though . Leave a comment over the weekend, if you wish, and let us know what you are thanking God for this year.

And from all of us at YLCF, may the Lord bless each one of you with a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Now thank we all our God,
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things hath done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mother’s arms
hath blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

Martin Rinkhart, 1586-1649

8 Comments

  1. I enjoyed this blog so much. I glanced at your teatime picture and realized that I have three in the same styles! It’s a wonderful world where we can all thank our wonderful Lord for His blessings!

  2. My thankful list is filled with things so much like yours. God is good to us. I am blessed…so very blessed.

  3. Hi YLCF and Lanier…thank you for that beautiful post Lanier..you just inspired me to do a bloggie post tonight on my own blog with the thanks that i have this year as well..i have many thanks to our Lord..here are some..

    ~~~I thank foremost the Lord for Himself, that He is there for me through it All, that His grace is just enough, that he always gives me no more than i can handle AND that i am still standing still standing as that song goes :))

    ~~~ I thank the Lord for all my friends that i have made this year at my church in Fairfield, all the friends i met online through Christian blogs, and through friends that i just barely met on facebook 16-18 all within a span of 2 days a few days ago..It was amazing..i met a great Christian friend VIA facebook and she told a lot of her friends to add me, and it made me smile to have so many extend their hand in friendship, i was having such a hard day that day, and the Lord knew JUST how to bless me 🙂

    ~~~I also thank the Lord for the family i have, my family especially my mom and cousin have blessed me immensely this year, i don’t know what i’d do without them 🙂

    and the list could go on, but i don’t want to make this any longer than it already is..It’s already long..have a blessed day tomorrow and great weekend ya all!

    Blessings and HUGS!!

    In His Love, Jane

  4. Beautifully written; you have such a way with words, Lanier! 🙂
    I enjoyed this read immensely and it made my own heart sing with thankfulness to my Heavenly Father.

  5. sweetmomma says:

    I’m thankful for my new baby! He’s a week old today! 🙂
    I love that last poem. It’s one of my favorites. Thanks for a beautiful post!

  6. HumblyHis says:

    Lanier, our kitchen matched yours today. It was full of Thanksgiving treats in the middle of preparation.
    While we cooked, my sister and I reflected on a not-so-encouraging subject, darkened the pie crusts, and I forgot to put the milk in my apple slump. I was very discouraged and was unkind when someone made a hurtful comment. Then I saw your post. Thanks so much. Being thankful was certainly not a part of the day’s activities, but now your encouragement has helped my attitude.
    Thanks again!

  7. That was truly beautiful, Lanier.
    Happy Thanksgiving and may you all be blessed with the joy of all the Heavenly Father has blessed us with!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *