Thanksgiving Eve Thoughts

November 24, 2021 | My Jottings

Oh, the gales of November are howling today. The sky is deep blue and cloudless, the trees are bending in the wind, and the chimes outside of my office sound like a blind person is furiously playing a discordant marimba. It’s cold enough now that our furnace runs non-stop, and that means I’d better soon retrieve the snow shovels from their corner in the garage and carry them to the entrances of the house.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and for the first time in years, I’m not roasting a turkey or hosting anyone in my cozy white corner house by the Lake. This year we are all driving over the river and through the woods to my daughter and son-in-law’s house. Chris and Sharon will roast the turkey and do the stuffing, corn, and the giant relish plate with her delicious homemade dip, set the table and let us all wander in and enjoy our holiday plopping. Carolyn and Jeremy will bring French silk pies, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and six beloved children to add to Chris and Sharon’s cherished four. I will bring rolls, biscuits, some more rolls, cranberries, and a Thanksgiving anomaly — a huge green salad. I’m in charge of bringing something green, and in the past I’ve done roasted asparagus, Brussels sprouts or broccoli. This time, since everything we’ll eat will be warm and soft, I’m bringing cold and crunchy.

At this moment I’m alone in my house, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s divine. I love the hum of the heat coming through my floor registers, the glow of the sun going down through the bare crabapple trees on the west side of my yard, and the smell of clean white laundry that just dried in the laundry room around the corner from my office. I ordered food for dinner because I decided not to cook, and I might even put my feet up in my brown leather recliner later and watch something on television.

Speaking of that, have any of you watched the movie Wild Mountain Thyme with Emily Blunt? My dear friend Su recommended it to me a long time ago, but I didn’t want to pay $7.99 to watch. It finally dropped to $2.99 and I downloaded it a few nights ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Such rapid-fire, quirky conversation! Such breathtaking scenery as it was filmed in Ireland. I could easily have stepped through the TV screen and just moved to County Mayo in the blink of an eye.

Sara has been super-busy in nursing school, but took the time to deck out my three flower boxes on the front porch. She fills them with lush, fragrant pine boughs, sticks and twigs, huge pine cones, and oversized ornaments the size of cantaloupes. When the snow falls they look especially lovely.

I think we’ll put up our Christmas tree in a few days, and it will probably be our little one. I’ll put it on a table in the corner of the living room, and relive all the memories I have from the myriad ornaments I’ve collected over the decades. My mother’s orange and banana ornaments from the 1950s. My daughter Sharon’s orange juice can lid with the word JOY punched out with nails, my daughter Carolyn’s little stained glass ornament with her name painted on it, done at a birthday party when she was in elementary school. My daughter Sara’s colored Christmas tree, preserved in contact paper. Crocheted bells from the Glad Tidings church secretary, bead ornaments made by my friend Carey’s daughter Liz, a stuffed angel from my friend Sue P., and so many more. They’re all mostly red, gold and green, and the word I use each year to describe how our tree is decorated is festooned. There isn’t a spare bare inch left on our tree, and it looks so beautiful to us.

I was talking with a granddaughter recently and we were discussing Christmas movies. I think the two I look forward to watching the most this year are the animated version of A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey (unbelievable stuff they do in that one) and the 1970 version of the same story called Scrooge, a musical with Albert Finney. I know all the songs by heart and sing them out loud and heartily when I watch it. What are your favorite Christmas movies? Is there something you watch every year? Can you believe that Lloyd had never watched It’s a Wonderful Life until last year, when I asked him to sit down and view it with me?

Here are a few things I don’t want to talk about, in person or here in print: how the virus is surging in our area, my ferritin levels, my intense need to get rid of half the stuff in my house on my slow quest to simplify, politics, supply chains, or how lonely it can be to be at home so much. It’s truly a good thing I’m an introvert and love this place.

Here’s a recent picture of Lloyd and me.

And at the age of 64, I’m still learning how to pray. I pray in my own handwriting the most, in a prayer journal in the mornings, and I also pray prayers others have written, and I cry out to God from my heart with tears, and I pray the Jesus prayer sometimes. I pray along with the wonderful app Pray As You Go, I pray in silence, I pray when I listen to worship songs. But I still wonder…. how shall I pray? Jesus taught His disciples to pray, and I pray that prayer a lot, slowly, thinking of what each phrase means and meaning it in my heart. I pray lots of short prayers…. Help me Lord!! and Thank you Jesus! 

I’m still in the school of prayer, not ever feeling like I’m quite doing it right. One thing I’ve become convinced of lately is, that I want to pray at least three times a day. I mean, stop what I’m doing and go to my room and have a short time of focused talking with the Lord. Morning, noon-ish and before bedtime sounds good to me. I’ve even set my phone to help me remember, and honestly on the days when I do that, my soul is more at peace. Even after the disciples had their lives and beliefs turned upside down by Jesus Christ, they still had set times they went to the temple to pray. Check out the third chapter of the book of Acts to read about Peter and John doing that. If they needed to do that, I think I might also.

I looked back in my prayer journal this morning and saw an answered prayer about my granddaughter Miriam. And one about my daughter Sara. And there have been many about Eleanor and Vivienne and my own children, and friends. I’m so grateful. But I’m still in elementary school when it comes to prayer. I want to be a woman of prayer before I die. I want to know my Savior’s voice.

Well, the sun has set and the wind has died down just a little bit. The mail was just delivered and Mildred the almost 16 year-old schnauzer has been fed. She sure totters and trembles in her old age and we know 2022 might well be the year we kiss her goodbye. I will be up with the dawn to bake and chop and toss and wrap, music playing on the dining room fireplace mantel as I do.

I pray that your Thanksgiving is a day you have even a small something to be grateful for. Whether you will be with family or friends or all alone, I ask the Lord who holds our breath in His hands to give you His peace and love. Thank you for stopping by.

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