T’is the Night Before Thanksgiving

T’is the night before Thanksgiving, and all through the house,
The Bad Dwarfs are lurking — Grump, Grumble, and Grouse.
The kids are all hyper, the dog is in hiding,
Guilt-ridden and banished from pumpkin pie swiping.

I’m sitting here, trying to type to the beat
of the metronome by Dad on the piano seat.
“And ONE-two-three, FOUR-five-six” I urge him to play,
While he manfully tunes out each word that I say.

Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
the clock that chimes eight … the sight brings a tear.
It’s bedtime for wee ones and lessons for him,
the realization makes me not a bit grim.

The pies are a’chilling, the bird is at rest,
Cranberries are jelling, the table well-dressed.
My family will head out to morningtime Mass,
and come back to dig in to the festive repast.

So how did those Bad Dwarfs get in to the place?
How dare they show up, take Gratitude’s space?
Now, Grumpy; now Snarky; now Lonely and Sad;
Hey, Ugly; say, Tired, Disgusted and Mad …

In this season of thankfulness, why are you here?
What gives you the right to mess with my good cheer?
“You called us,” they told me. “You made us a place
at your Thanksgiving table, in your thoughts and your face.”

Oh, dear. I need a new guest list, and fast
Get Peace, Love, and Joy to this festive repast!
Make us grateful, dear Lord, even for the great pains,
for those difficult dwarfs, for the sorrows unnamed.

Ours is no Norman Rockwell-type tableau.
The cracks and dustbunnies are sure bound to show.
Still we offer to You our thanksgiving, sincere,
Secure in Your unfailing kindness each year.

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.
All are safely gathered in,
e’re the winter storms begin.

God our maker doth provide
All our wants to be supplied.
Come, ye thankful people, come.
Raise the song of harvest home.

From Tearful to Cheerful: Thoughts of Thanksgiving

To be honest, I started out this Thanksgiving weekend feeling surpremely sorry for myself.  It would just be us for dinner – my family is far away, his family is unavailable, and for one reason or another no opportunities presented themselves to invite anyone over. (I know that sounds lame, but true nonetheless.) So I got a little turkey, made the pistachio fruit salad, and decided to make the best of it. But inside, I was grumbling all the way.

Poor me. All alone with my family, with all of us healthy and plenty of food in the cupboard. No, we couldn’t travel this year (like we do most years) but all in all, it could be MUCH worse.

Then I was reminded how much worse. Yesterday I discovered a dear friend had been hospitalized with leukemia. Her oldest son (whom she and her husband foster-adopted 11 years ago) has the rest of the family sleeping with one eye open as much for self-preservation as filial concern. I went to go visit her in the hospital this morning, and my friend told me about her list of all that she was thankful for, as a result of this sickness.

Of all the people who had reached out to let her know how much she means to them.

Of the answers to prayer that she had already experienced by offering her suffering back to God.

Of all the ways her doctors had been fighting on her behalf, even before she knew she was ill.

Yes, she had much to be thankful for.  And so do I.

So tonight, as I put the last vestiges of turkey carcass into the trash (after “souping” them all evening), pour the last glass from the wine bottle, and sit down to compose this last little reflection for my “Weekend Ponderings” message to you, I just have to say . . . Truly, we have much to be thankful for.

Lord, I’d like to thank you for my friend Roxy, and ask you to illuminate her path.
Give her light enough for the rough places, and courage enough for the dark ones.
Give her only enough suffering to make her holy, and only enough worry to cling to you all the more.
And finally, Lord, as I hold her up to you in prayer, help me never to tire of interceding
not according to my will, Lord, but yours.
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Mary, Seat of Wisdom, please pray for us.

Mighty Mom Monday: Lessons in Gratitude

Thanks to “Mighty Mom” for reprising this heartfelt post here at EMN. In this season of Advent, may we always be mindful of those for whom the “holidays” are a painful reminder of what they need … first and foremost, the preservation of dignity.

OK, when I was a child we lived in what I now know was poverty. However, because my then step-father was going to SMU to seminary (he never finished) we lived for a year and a half in the richest part of Dallas. It was very hard to be “the poor kid.”

Well, during the second of those Decembers we got an envelope in the mail that said “To the parents of Sarah …..” return address was Santa Claus. Inside were $100 in gift certificates to the local grocery store. Our Christmas was not big, but we did have one. Because of the former step-father’s poor spending habits, we would have had Christmas regardless…but then wouldn’t have had money for food. Those gift certificates were perfect. A month’s worth of food (give or take) that can’t be spent on anything else. (This was long before you could get groceries and “stuff” like clothes and toys at the same store.)

I have a younger brother with a different last name. Why was it addressed to my parents? Who sent it? How did they know that just sending money wouldn’t be as helpful as the gift certificates? Did they know? How can you accept a gift when you don’t know who to tell thank you?

These questions have no answers.

But I do know this. I was 12 years old and very depressed. Ready to lose hope in everything. My Mom was in the process of kicking out the former step-father with poor spending habits. The world as I knew it was falling apart. Out of nowhere Santa sent me a gift. Not just a gift of money for food for the family, but a gift to me of hope, an example that people aren’t all hateful and snide, and the assurance that I could and would make it and be able to move on to a better life. Also, the knowledge that there’d be help along the way through the Grace of God.

Christmas is about the Birth of Christ. However, Santa Claus is about spreading hope and joy to those most in need. And every December I celebrate BOTH. Yes, I DO believe in Santa Claus and I DO believe that he still lives.

He lives in our hearts every December when we make a point of spreading hope and joy to someone else.

“And I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight
Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”

Mighty Mom Monday: Crawfish Confessions

Here we are, celebrating Thanksgiving with the grandparents.  Each kiddo has a small helping of  meat, veggies, green bean casserole and crawfish dressing on their plate.
 
I keep trying to encourage the Gator-boy (age 3 1/2)  to try his food. 
 
He’ll eat all the meat but nothing else!
 
I point out that crawfish is meat…..”NO!”
 
Wanna try some off Momma’s fork?….”NO!”
 
I’m gonna steal it if you don’t eat it….mmmm mmm…so good….here, you wanna bite?  … “NO!”
 
OK, fine, I give up. Eat the meat, leave the rest, at least you’re quiet and happy and not starting a food fight in Mimi’s formal dining room.
 
Then I get caught up cutting meat for Sonshine……
 
That’s when I hear it.  “Crawfish!…giggle”
 
Huh????
 
I turn around to see that Grandad is helping Gatorboy search for, find and EAT all the crawfish out of his dressing.  Grandparents have magic 🙂
 
I may have to change my name.  
 
signed…..
Nolongermighty Mom.

Mighty Mom Monday: Giving Thanks…

Sugars (21 months)Gator Boy (3-1/2)Sonshine (5)
Mighty Mom is back, feeling very thankful … As we enter the

Advent season, let’s join her in a moment of giving thanks.

(I’m especially thankful that the holiday weekend is over and

the kids are back in school!)

Ferris Bueller said, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look

around once in awhile, you could miss it.”

So, what has Mightymom been doing for the last two weeks while

she wasn’t writing Mighty Mom Monday posts?

Cue the music! Sing along with me folks, the tune is

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”…

There was retching and puking and cleaning the carpets.
washing the sheets and changing the diapers…
But the best of all …. are the blessings that I can recall!

(Ba dum dum dum)

Sick kids are very snuggly
Even those who usually aren’t
Husbands are very handy
Renting carpet cleaners fast.

Bath time is lots of fun
even several times a day
it makes you smell so yummy
and washes all the sicks away.

Then there’s one more very big… Blessing I must share
I would up and go to work… Leaving hubby there (he’s the best)!

Now all the kids are better
Eating all the food they can
Running around like banshees
Playing hard and chasing cats!

Yup, life moves pretty fast, remember to stop and count your blessings

during this busy season, folks.

Photo credit: Church Candles Online; also photos from Mighty Mom!