As you can see from the photo above, my parents and my youngest sister, Megan, came down to visit in Ripley. It was a relatively short trip, but so good to have them here. They got the grand tour of town, the church, school. We stopped in all the little shops around the square. Had some good Mexican food. We even worked on the flags for the float for the upcoming Christmas parade. It was nice to be able to say as they left this morning, "See you Tuesday." Kate and I will do some odds and ends around here tomorrow, teach English in the evening, and then I'll head to St. Louis Tuesday morning to spend Thanksgiving with my family. My mom's side of the family will also celebrate Christmas this weekend so the snowbirds can head south at their leisure. That means I get to do a little Christmas shopping this week, which I do enjoy. I don't actually shop much unless there is something in particular for which I am looking. Even then it's usually get in and get out and spend as little as I can. Christmas shopping, however, is a different story. I love to spend time thinking about what to get, how to personalize it, how to make it fun. I might even browse to get ideas. Often times the gifts are homemade, it just depends on the year. I'd share some of my ideas here, but I can't give away the Secret Santa surprise.
Thanksgiving, however, is probably my favorite holiday. For me, a spirit of gratitude keeps everything else in perspective. Even in difficult times, God's creative, abundant spoiling is delightfully overwhelming: enjoying every bite of my meal, a hot shower, time for a nap and actually falling asleep, hugs from little kids, watching the morning clouds that look like snow even though it is too warm, crawling into bed thankful for this day and looking forward, God willing, to tomorrow.
Thank you God for family and community and friends. Thank you for relationships, especially the relationship with you that sustains and excites and brings life. May gratitude always be my heart's greatest prayer.
Happy Thanksgiving every day!