Maybe it was the nicer weather. Maybe it was having the celebration back at my brother's place after a nasty house fire last year. Maybe it's that the kids are growing up and we're not having to follow them around everywhere. I don't know what it was, but this was the most relaxed and fun Thanksgiving I can ever recall!
Growing up, we're were always expected to "behave" at family functions. Although I miss my mom, it's like we have free reign to laugh, act silly, and be ourselves now. The best part (besides the fantastic food) was doing dishes in Marty's kitchen as we rocked out to some of his favorite tunes (and some old songs too!) We danced as we did our chores.
When we were kids, dessert was NEVER served until the dishes were done. Ah, the freedom to let the dishes sit and to enjoy each other's company. There was no official announcement when it was time to clean up. I wandered into the kitchen and picked up a dish cloth and before you know it, everyone was there pitching in....and having a grateful, hysterical, memory-making time of our lives.
I have a friend whom I have tolerated for years. She fits every description above. She didn't start out that way (or I wouldn't have become friends with her). Over time, she has increasingly become more and more unbearable. She expects everyone to believe exactly as she does or else she doesn't "approve" of them.
If you live this way for a very long time, you become entirely self-centered as she has become. I hate walking on eggshells around her. I can't be myself around her because I might offend her. I've been bending over backwards, trying to bite my tongue and do the right thing. I have kept my mouth shut and have been forgiving when she has offended ME with her ignorance. I have changed the topic, skirted the issues, talked about the weather, just to avoid getting into a confrontation with her. Because she attends my church, I see people bowing to her attitude as I have, also trying to do the good "Christian" thing.
Recently I have kindly and gently spoken my mind, not about her personally, but about my opinion on some issues. Suddenly I am the enemy. I am the "hypocrite." I greeted her kindly last time I saw her but I don't know how long I can keep up the facade.
I'm grateful for good friends. One of them is Kelly. We first met nearly 12 years ago when I was new to my church. I felt then that we would be good friends. We both have been through a lot in our respective lives in the past 12 years and have recently reconnected through Facebook. Kelly invited me to a women's meeting at her church tonight and I was really BLESSED! It was so good to see Kell in person again and to know that we are indeed really good friends!
I'm learning to appreciate each season. I used to dread autumn because it ushered in winter (and I despise the cold!). Seeing the flocks of birds fly south always made me sad. I realized my change in attitude the other day when I was happy to see the little guys heading for warmer climates (they must be the smart ones!)
(I can't take credit for the above picture-it's from Google images, but I did take the one below.)
Another part of appreciating the season is taking notice of the moon. It's been so pretty to me lately. This is not a very clear picture, but it's the moon through the branches of my backyard tree.
All my life, it seems, I have kept my opinion to myself (for the most part) so as not to rock the boat. It's been a real eye-opening experience for me through this past election. I voted for what I thought was right in my heart--the truth for me--and was so heavily attacked by friends whom I've discovered are very narrow-minded. I'm amazed at so many people who think it's their way (the way they perceive life) or nothing.
I want to be open-hearted to people. Sure, I have my own convictions, but I know I cannot push them off on others or expect others to believe exactly the way I do. I'm learning that, for me personally, I just can't go with the flow, be content with the status quo. I have to do what's right for me and follow God's leading, even if others do not approve.
Here in the US, we celebrate Thanksgiving Day at the end of November. I have learned in recent years to be thankful each and every day. Our church has a motto: Vision - Mission - Hope. We're taking the church out of the building and into the streets. Tonight a group of us served a turkey dinner at a homeless shelter in downtown St. Louis.
This is the second time Katie, Emily, and I have helped. I love to see the look on my daughters' faces when they realize they are making a difference in someone's life.
Early in the week it was soooo cold here. We had our first frost warning. But slowly the temperature increased as the week progressed, and Halloween night proved to be a pleasantly warm night. I'm surprised my girls still want to dress up and trick-or-treat at ages 16 and 13 (I thought I was too old myself at 11). Katie said this is her last year. It's sad in a way but also a relief. We had an unusually wet summer, so the leaves have been slow in changing this year. My backyard tree has finally changed in the past few days. I guess Fall is officially here now!
A local radio station has been playing Christmas songs already. I've been enjoying them while the weather was cool, but it makes me a bit queasy when it's summer-like weather and everyone's preparing for Halloween. I had to take a break. Running my holidays together was getting a little weird!
The computer gurus at Blogger have come up with this addicting Blogger Play which features pictures currently being uploaded to Blogger. Be aware that you have no idea what pics may show up in case you're easily offended! Click on a pic you like. It will take you to the blog where it's from. How cool is that?
“The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea.” - Isak Dineson