‘Tis the Season to be Thankful –
November is, of course, our month of obligatory thankfulness. People pass the time by posting the sources of their gratitude on social media. Children write lists of reasons they are thankful on school assignments. We celebrate our thankfulness by gathering with our families and friends to enjoy our bountiful harvest plucked straight from the shelves of the local supermarket. And then we knock each other down running for the latest gadget at the Walmart Black Friday sale (which now oddly starts at 6 pm on Thursday).
I’m just kidding. I’m not a Black Friday hater. I actually enjoy it because, remember, I’m really frugal, and Black Friday is the very pinnacle of frugal shopping. I know some people boycott Black Friday because it’s now on Thursday, but I just don’t have that luxury. I have to get the most for my money, and that means I’m grabbing up those $6 fleece Ninja Turtle pajama pants. We go to a small town Walmart. It’s crowded, but it’s never gotten crazy. People are mostly very polite. I’ve taken my kids without any concern for our safety. We can make our Christmas budget go so much farther by getting the good Black Friday deals. I am thrilled to get more and more online ahead of time these days though.
If you missed my last post 3 Easy Ways to Earn Money While Christmas Shopping, you need to check that one out as well.
I liked Black Friday the best when it started at Midnight. Everyone else was sleepy, and I was wide awake. Those were the years I had the real advantage. I could have all my shopping finished and be home before my normal bedtime. Then they started moving the start time earlier and earlier and spacing out the deals. I’m sure this was some type of logistical strategy driven by market research. Apparently, I was in a minority of people who liked it best starting at Midnight.
But no matter how much I look forward to Black Thursday/Friday, it’s not a reason I’m thankful. It’s just a fun shopping experience. That’s all.
I can never keep up with the every day in November posts about being thankful that some do throughout the month. I’m just not that structured kind of a person who can remember to post each day like that. When I’ve contemplated doing the posts in November in the past, I end up thinking I should just be thankful every day, not only in November. Then that makes me wonder if I should post something I’m thankful for every single day of the year. Then I just give up on the thought because it seems overwhelming. However, on this Thanksgiving week, I figure I’ll jump on the bandwagon for once and give you 3 Reasons I Am Thankful This Season.
This list is in no way meant to be exhaustive. There are a million other reasons I’m thankful, but I wanted to touch on just a few that aren’t being mentioned by tons of other people.
3 Reasons I Am Thankful
1.) I am thankful for electricity.
Sorry, I know I’m supposed to say family, and that is definitely true too and goes without saying, but I’m also thankful for electricity. We were without power from about 2 am to about 4 am early Sunday morning. I was almost dozing off when I heard a little beep because my phone was telling me the charger wasn’t “supported.” For a second, I thought it was just the charger going bad. Then my mom text me asking if our power was out too. So I walked through the house smacking my face into stuff for a few minutes before going back to my bedroom for a flashlight. Then I called the power company.
What do normal people do when the power’s out at 3 am? They sleep. What do I do when the power’s out at 3 am? I fold a week’s worth of laundry by candlelight while wasting the last remaining 20% of my phone battery to take a picture of that laundry.
The power was back on by 4 am. That’s when I had to run frantically through the house starting the washer, dryer, and dishwasher, and then use the vacuum right then because there’s nothing like a power outage to give me a new appreciation for all my electrical appliances. I have this paranoia that the power will go back off a couple of hours later because that’s actually happened at times.
We live in an area that has been known to experience longterm winter power outages. It’s been for up to 10 days a few times in my life. Even three days without power can get pretty difficult, so anytime the power goes down for more than thirty seconds, I start to wonder how long it will take to fix. Early Sunday morning I was running through all the possible scenarios in my mind of how I was going to prepare the foods I will be making for various Thanksgiving meals using only the woodstove. I was optimistic it would be a brief outage, since the lengthy outages usually only happen when the whole region is without power due to an ice storm or blizzard making it difficult for repair crews to even get their trucks on the roads. But I was still getting a backup plan ready in my head.
Thankfully, we have power, and there will be no sweet potatoes or other dishes experimentally prepared on the woodstove going to dinner with us on Thursday.
2.) I am thankful I wasn’t wearing the Minnie Mouse pajama pants!
The week before last my son’s varsity basketball team had a parent meeting after practice one evening. I was sure he told me the parent meeting was going to be Thursday evening. I went to pick him up from practice on Wednesday dressed in my pajama pants as usual. We DO NOT create extra laundry here unless it’s absolutely necessary! If I’m not getting out of the van, I am not getting another outfit dirty.
I went to pick up my son in pajama pants. He came to the van to ask why I wasn’t inside for the parent meeting. Ugh! I’m sure he told me it was the next night. I was wearing dark pink pajama pants which were bad enough, but the night before I had been wearing white pajama pants with Minnie Mouse all over them. Those would have been even more conspicuous than the solid-colored ones, so it could have been worse. I couldn’t just skip the meeting. I had no other choice but to go in the building – no make-up, crazy hair, socks and sandals, and pink pajama pants. I’m still really thankful it wasn’t the Minnie Mouse pants though.
3.) I am thankful for the Peace that Passes All Understanding even in seasons of darkness.
The year 2017 did not get off to a great start for us. My grandma passed away a couple of days before Christmas. She had been through a long battle with Alzheimer’s, so in some ways we had already mourned the loss of her person repeatedly over the past few years. We buried her the day after Christmas. My grandpa was in the hospital at the time of her funeral. He was not healthy enough to be released to attend her funeral, and we knew his death would come shortly after that.
He passed two weeks later. My brother had just driven back home to Texas after being in Indiana for the holidays. He had to turn right around with his wife and three small children and make that 20-hour trip back to Indiana again for another funeral. My dad had to preach the funerals of both his parents just two weeks apart.
People kept asking if we were okay, but there was only Peace. These were grandparents who lived right next to us and were very much a part of our lives, and then they were no longer a part of our lives, and suddenly they were both gone all at once, but still there was Peace. I don’t fully understand it, but even in the darkness, there was Peace. There is Peace in knowing their bodies and minds are whole and well. There is Peace in knowing this world is only a temporary home for any of us.
The deaths of my grandparents prompted my daughter to move her wedding up by five months which meant she was getting married in high school and gave us only about ten weeks to put the whole wedding together. You will have to read the Married in High School post to understand all the circumstances that played into that decision which I thought was perhaps an overly preemptive reaction at the time, but thankfully others were using better discernment in the matter than I was, and we now know waiting until summer for the wedding would have been too late.
The wedding was beautiful and perfect, and the lovely couple is a blessing to our family in every way.
Not even two months after the wedding, my mother-in-law passed after nearly a two year battle with cancer. Still in the darkness, there was Peace. There was Peace that I can’t comprehend sometimes, and I don’t even understand, but we serve the Prince of Peace, and there was Peace.
The holidays are a bit different for us this year. My grandparents will not be at my grandpa’s sister’s house when we go for lunch on Thursday. Thanksgiving dinner will not be at Mamaw’s house that afternoon. That’s all going to be different. And on top of that, none of us in my husband’s family even know how to make a turkey! I’m in charge of the sweet potatoes now, and I don’t even know how to make the ones in a pan. The only kind of sweet potatoes I know how to make are the plain baked ones or the kind in a casserole, so it’s just going to be the kind in a casserole with the oatmeal, and that’s not the same at all, and nothing about Thanksgiving is the same at all!
Holidays are different this year, but I’m going to take it on faith that the Peace that Passes All Understanding will remain. The Peace doesn’t change because the Author of Peace doesn’t change. The eternal hope of a risen Christ doesn’t change, so we walk by Faith, and we remain in Peace as we move into a new season. We abide in the One who conquered the grave, and for that, I am truly thankful.
The House That Never Slumbers wishes you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. May you also know Peace this holiday season.
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