Day 27, 28 and 29: the po-po, corn bread stuffing and roadkill

I am one of those people who loves a day where I don’t have to leave the house and where we can just do whatever. I love having time with all my kids at home. Don’t get me wrong there are days where I would like my kids to be home and me to be…not home, or the other way around: they would all leave and let me sit by myself with a carton of ice-cream and a girly movie. But usually I love all my people together in one place. In fact, no matter how large our family grows (in numbers or stature) a requirement of mine is a couch that we can all sit on together. My heart never feels more full than when Peter and all my babies are within arms reach. I kind of have been dreading Hayleigh starting kindergarten for a bit since birth. I would consider home schooling so I could keep her to myself but then I remember that I am a horribly impatient teacher and I also only do math at a second grade level. So, very quickly we would both need a tutor any way.  I will be the mom who cries when summer is over and my kids have to go back to school though. Wednesday was a “day off” preschool for Hayleigh and I was really happy about it.

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We got to play with cousins in from out of town, play in the snow and even have an incident with our neighbor’s poor autistic son and loose pit bull that resulted in me calling the police later that evening. The police handled it really well though and it left me thankful for a few things on Day 27. First, I am thankful for a day off with my girl that normally would have been a school day. Second, I am thankful that God protected us and other than recurring bad memories for Braxton, no one, including the neighbor boy, were hurt. And third, I am thankful for first responders. As the officer took my statement we heard over his radio about a gun being pulled on a cop in Webster resulting in a chase,(by this time it was 10:30 or so at night because I waited to report the incident until the kids were in bed). He turned and said, “this is going to be a looong night.” I am thankful that there are people who are willing to work over night, on a holiday, in crummy weather, to protect and serve their community. It is something neither Peter or I are created to do, so I am thankful for people who do, and who do a good job of it.

Day 28 was Thanksgiving. We spent the day with my family this year. I am so glad I decided to do this month of joy blog post thingy because it really helped my heart prepare for the holiday. Usually I end up feeling very rushed and exhausted by the time we sit down to eat and I don’t take the time to really think about what I am thankful for, much less take time express that to God. It all too often becomes about where we go and what we eat than about being thankful, really and truly, for what we have been blessed with. For me it takes a great deal of discipline to be thankful and rejoice in all circumstances. I need to remember to be thankful. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I tend to be a person who lists all the things that went wrong for me. By working before Thanksgiving to notice the things that I have to grateful for it created a habit in me to remember to be thankful, which is something I desperately needed.

I have been thinking a lot about memory lately. I thought about it again as I prepared the stuffing for Thanksgiving. It is my dad’s recipe-one he made when we were growing up (and gluten free too!). As I put together the ingredients the smells brought me back to another place. I remembered sitting around the kitchen table breaking up corn bread with my dad and sisters the night before Thanksgiving. I remembered my grandma-my dad’s mom, and the smell of her perfume. I remembered picking the squash out of my baked squash and apples and wrapping them in a cloth napkin so I could eat pumpkin pie for dessert. Memories-what a wonderful gift, one not to be taken for granted. I am thankful for memories, for the gift that they are. But even as our memories may fade, even as we may struggle to recall things as we age, one thing about memories I think must still ring true. Even if we cannot bring something to mind, those memories stay with us in some capacity. They helped shape us. Even if some day I forget all about my family traditions, and the smell of corn bread stuffing doesn’t take me back the way it does now, those traditions are still buried deep inside me. They made me who I am. They are etched into my being-along with every other memory and experience, good and bad. I will carry them with me wherever I go, even if I can’t carry them in the forefront of my minds, even if I can’t hold them in my hands. They are a part of me. That is one of the beautiful things about memories, they shape us. They make us who we are. And they enable us to leave a legacy, sometimes even without trying. For Day 28, I am thankful for memories, whether it is forming habits-like remembering to be thankful, memories of good times past, or the memories we can’t bring to mind but that are etched into our being.

Day 29, I am thankful for leftovers. It means I do not have to cook tonight. (Holler.) I am also thankful I am not a raccoon, because seriously I have seen more of those suckers dead by the side of the road in the past week than ever before. It is NOT a good time to be a scavenger I guess. So yeah, I thankful I human and not a raccoon road kill in a snow bank. And I am thankful for leftovers. But not just food leftovers. I am thankful for the joy that fills my heart and remains (leftover) after a day with my family. I am thankful that holidays morph into long weekends so we can keep enjoying each other in the days to come. God has given us so much, in the way of material things, in the love we share with family and in His very character. Our cup truly overflows. And what better time to think of it then when packing up and feasting on leftovers. We are rich. We are blessed. We don’t have to scavenge. We can feast. (I know, a bit of stretch there…). God has lavished His grace on us this last year, so much that we have some leftover and for that I am very thankful.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
  He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
  he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
Psalm 23

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