Since today is Thursday and it is Thanksgiving... this will serve as my Thankful Thursday post:
Today is Thanksgiving. We are detouring from our "normal" holiday routine this year. Normally we would go to my grandmother's house but this year we decided on something a little different.
We made plans to go to serve Thanksgiving lunch at Jen's Cafe. Jen's gives out free Thanksgiving lunch to those who may not otherwise have a good Thanksgiving meal. I have witnessed some come to eat the very good food that Jen's serves and leave donations and others are just grateful to get a hot meal. It is a huge blessing to be a part of this. I was very excited to be able to give back. As most of you know, one of my main areas of ministry is to the hurt, lost, and under privileged. So this is a perfect outreach for me and my family. Not only can you serve someone a wonderful meal and spend time with someone who might have been alone on that holiday...it gives plenty of opportunity to pray with them as well. After that we were planning to go out for dinner with friends who do not have any family in the area and be their family for the day. We were so excited about the plans and couldn't wait to get Thanksgiving started. This year since I have a new job, I was afforded the luxury of getting to spend the school holiday/break with my children. It was looking like a wonderful Thanksgiving.
We started our Thanksgiving off about a little over a week in advance when we had Thanksgiving dinner with our bible study home group. It was so much fun and such great food. I think I can speak for my whole family when I say that we really enjoyed the fellowship and worship as well as the food and company! We really consider each of these people as part of our family so when we got to spend time with them it really is a blessing.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving our church held a Thanksgiving service. We attended and had a wonderful time of Praise and Worship followed by a very heartfelt message from Pastor Bill. I always enjoy hearing him and we all love him and are so thankful for him and his family, as we are for all of our Pastors at Church of the Shoals. Afterwards, we had dessert and coffee with our church family. We always love being with our church family and it was hard to leave... we could have stayed all night. We were some of the last to leave and we enjoyed every single second of it.
Wednesday morning came bright and early because Kobe had basketball practice that morning and the rest of us had hair appointments. I found out while there that since I had volunteered to help with the set up and take down at Jen's for Thanksgiving lunch that my name had somehow not gotten put on the schedule for serving food on Thursday and they were very well staffed and wouldn't need me! I was disappointed that I would not be there but my heart was over joyed that so many people had volunteered. Our friends, Susan and Aaron were who we were planning dinner with and since Susan is our hair dresser we talked and decided that since those plans had changed we would have lunch instead. I decided I would go to a Christmas auction that night afterwards and I was still very happy and excited about our Thanksgiving Day plans. That night I made turkey, apple stuffing, hash brown casserole, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, rolls, cranberry sauce, pineapple casserole, Oreo pie, and sweet potato pie. After we sat down we all took turns going around the room telling each person what we were thankful for about them. Of course, when they told me what they were thankful for about me... I cried. They were the sweetest little comments. I will remember that night forever. It was so nice to have a nice family dinner and be so grateful for what we have and for each other. We even got to drink out of the fancy glasses! The kids LOVED that. I heard, "You are the best Mom ever!" a lot that night. I don't know if it was because of the turkey or the Oreo pie!
Thursday morning ...fortunately... wasn't so bright and early. We all slept in a little. I got up and fixed a nice BIG breakfast and we all ate and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. Scratch that. That is what I had hoped would happen. Instead... the kids ate very rapidly so they could get to playing outside and playing video games and John and I watched the parade. Soon after we had to begin getting everyone ready to go to Aaron and Susan's for lunch. This was very trying. The children would NOT cooperate. They were being ugly to each other and to me! I decided that plans were for the birds and decided to wait it out until attitudes improved...including mine. Needless to say, we missed lunch. I was actually fine with that because I wasn't quite sure how nice of a time it would have been with the morning we had already experienced. After the huge uproar... things seemed to get alot better. We didn't have anymore problems with the boys and all seemed to be OK. UNTIL... we began to get hungry. Since we had our Rainey Family Thanksgiving meal the night before I didn't have anything "thanksgiving-y" to cook and I thought we might have frozen pizza. But then... we decided to go out to an early dinner. We drove past Cracker Barrel and it was absolutely packed. We drove on to Olive Garden. Closed. We looked at Red Lobster. Closed. John kept driving because he knew our options were slim and he knew what the kids would pick... and he knew I wouldn't like it... but then the kids started saying, "Ryan's! Ryan's!". I am not a fan... at all. I began to find myself in a very foul mood. I know the kids love the ice cream bar but I can't stand anything about it... well, maybe I like the rolls. So, into Ryan's we went. I was so ill. Now, looking back I am so ashamed of myself. Halfway through the meal I found myself with my coat on and zipped, sitting on the opposite end of the table, frowning, and mad that all of my plans were RUINED. I also found myself feeling really disappointed in....myself. I was being such a brat and so ungrateful on the day I am to be the most grateful. I felt that sting of tears in my eyes... and not because of the food. But, because of my bad and ugly attitude. I had to just get up and go to the bathroom and cry. I was being such a brat! I came back out of that bathroom and I was appreciative of my family, our health, the fact that we could go to eat, that we were eating, that we have jobs, a home, cars, and yes... even the sticky floors at Ryan's. Although, our Thanksgiving did not go as planned... I know that God knew what I needed... I needed to get a good swift kick in the pants to remember what Thanksgiving is all about.... and he gave me that lesson. When I sat back down I didn't notice all of the dirty dishes everywhere or the sticky table or the food on the floor... I noticed my husband and kids making the best memories. I almost missed out on that. I was able to salvage a tiny piece of that meal with them. I am so grateful for the reminder that it is not about the food or the type of food you eat. It isn't about where you sit down to eat. It is about being with who is important to you and giving praise and thanks to God for all that He has blessed us with. I left with a grateful, yet heavy heart. I was embarrassed at how I had felt. We salvaged the day though. The boys all hugged me and told me how much they loved me... that is enough to make anyone smile and feel better!
It turned out to be one of the most memorable Thanksgiving breaks ever. We enjoyed extra time with each other and we had several Rainey Family Cinema sessions! I am really looking forward to Christmas break...except... I think we should make NO plans!!!