Finding Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving was never a holiday that my family celebrated all that much. The timing was usually off, coming at the end of deer season, and we would have other things to do – like cutting up deer, butchering pigs, mixing, stuffing and smoking sausage – whatever was needed to be done in preparation for winter. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that we didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, we would always stop for a meal – it just wasn’t necessarily a holiday that brought together all of the family from the four corners of the Earth. Just those of us lucky enough to still be home.

So I have to admit that I’m a little distracted by the hubbub that’s being caused by the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday hours. Now, don’t get me wrong…I understand the importance of time with family. And I know how important it can be to have a reason to get together. But let’s take a little closer look at it.

Future Farmer

Thanksgiving isn’t just for one day…it’s for every day.

I’m now going to read to you every scripture that talks about God’s commandment for Thanksgiving:



That’s right…not once in the Bible does God say anything specifically about Thanksgiving, and yet our society is up in arms about the unfairness of businesses being open on that day in particular.

And yet…Exodus 20:8-11. 8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”

Oh, and then there’s Deuteronomy 5:12-14. 12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.”

So why is it that we are so willing to stand up for a holiday that celebrates an event that should be done every single day – and yet we are so willing to go against what God has specifically commanded us to do?

Now, don’t get me wrong – as a farmer’s daughter, a farmer’s wife, and a mother of four, I completely understand that life throws you curve balls on occasion. Animals need to be fed, people need to eat, crops need to be brought in, and sometimes the only day in which the weather cooperates is Sunday. Truthfully, the only reason I mention it at all is because we need to be aware of the convictions that we have and the reasons that we have them.

Perhaps, instead of criticizing those that make decisions that are different then our own, we should focus on what Thursday is supposed to be all about. Let THAT be our message to share with the world – instead of commercializing the holiday even more.

First of all, why is it that we need one day out of the year to get our families together and give thanks for the gifts we’ve been blessed with? Is this not something we should be doing at a minimum of at least once a day? If not almost every minute of the day? I don’t believe that there is a single person in this church that doesn’t tell God how grateful we are on a regular basis.

We see these gifts every where we look – we just have to be willing to open our eyes. Like we read in Hebrews 12:28, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…”

I haven’t always been a thankful person. I didn’t grow up in the most prestigious manner. I didn’t have a church family that I felt I belonged to, and my upbringing was unconventional at best. Some may call it the school of hard knocks, I just call it a lesson in reality. You win some, you lose some – and most importantly, only you can decide what your future may bring.

But my outlook and heart had a pretty drastic change following the events that began in the spring of 2009. For those that may not know me that well, that was the year in which our youngest son, Eli, was born.

None of my pregnancies were easy – and I will openly admit that Eli was no different. I had problems with my kidney, as well as undergoing emergency surgery in my fourth month of pregnancy to have my gallbladder removed. I was grateful that there was a planned end in sight, with a c-section scheduled the day after my own birthday. Eli came into the world at 9 pounds, 10 ounces.

As with all of my boys, it was love at first sight. And even though I never once questioned my love for him – I did question his health. For weeks, and then months, I kept having a nagging suspicion that something wasn’t quite right. He developed jaundice late, and it hung on for weeks. He wasn’t gaining weight. I always joked that he looked like the saggy-baggy elephant.

Finally, I took him in to see the on-call doctor – and the events that unfolded from that moment on became a roller coaster for the next 18 months. I shudder to think what may have happened if my family hadn’t pushed for answers. If Eli would have been the oldest instead of the youngest. Would I have been so willing to keep pushing? Would I have listened to my instincts?

But the fact is, none of that matters. And after Eli was diagnosed with his condition, and I saw him finally starting to grow, and develop, and become the child you see before you, I realized that the path we took to get here may not have been the easiest, but I’m grateful for the experience.

You see, we can’t always change the events that happen around us. The diagnoses we receive. The actions of others. The hours that a business sets. But we can change our response to it. We can change our attitude. And with that, we can change the world.

Thursday is Thanksgiving. But true thanksgiving doesn’t happen every year at the end of November. It’s not marred by a business trying to improve their bottom line. It’s not determined by whether or not a family is sitting down for a meal together.

Thanksgiving happens in our hearts – every day. It’s in the gratefulness we feel towards doctors and the advances we’ve been blessed with in science. It’s in the wonder we feel when we watch our families gather. It’s in the strength of a person who faces adversity with tenacity and determination. It’s in the eyes of a 6-year-old who defies the odds that science has set.

Thanksgiving doesn’t happen once a year. And it doesn’t take place at Walmart at 6 p.m. on November 26.

And for that – I am thankful.

Dust yourself off…

I’ve been MIA, but the last few weeks have been like watching a video on fastforward while taking speed. Not that I really have a lot of experience with that, but I think I have a good idea as to what it may be like.

I’ve put an insane number of hours into my weeks, and have literally felt myself at the end of my rope several times – so I guess it’s time for a revamp.

It’s crazy to think about how life can work out. I think my biggest struggle lately has been coming to terms with who I am, and realizing when what I’m doing is just not enough – and maybe it never will be. I remember the first few times I thought I was in love, yet no matter what I did, I couldn’t make them love me back. It wasn’t until years later that I realized that it wasn’t anything I could do, you can’t force someone to love you any more than you can force someone to communicate with you.

As I get older, the same lessons occur, just in different themes. But maybe I’m finally making headway.

I can’t make people understand where I come from, but I can still do my best to communicate what I can, and take it from there. I just need a little brush up on that communication part. A work in progress, I guess.

But aren’t we all?

Tomorrow on the blog I have a few cool projects to share – they made our fall spectacular!

And a few cool stories, because that’s what this is all about.

Catch ya on the flip side.

When the picture starts to sharpen…

I would apologize for my lack of writing, but I’ll just chalk it up to life occurring – which is kind of a funny way to put it, with where my thoughts are right now.

Sometimes we think we have life figured out, and we’re going along at a pretty good clip, and then the rug gets pulled out from under us and we realize that everything that we were pretty sure wouldn’t matter…well, we find out deep inside that it does.

Sometimes it’s not that we’re looking for answers or some magic spell to make it all better. We’re just looking for reassurance that our efforts aren’t in vain. That there’s a reason for the madness and that one day it’ll all make sense.

Yeah, I’m being a bit vague and general. Because it’s very hard for me to be open – well, to most people.

It’s been a crazy summer already, and the Fourth is upon us. I haven’t been fishing with my boys, we have projects that haven’t been completed, we haven’t been to the camper yet, we’ve not roasted marshmallows – the list goes on and on. But as of right now, it doesn’t matter.

This week I have walked pigs with them, watched them play baseball, listened to them argue, and have taken what I can only imagine will be amazing photos. And I cannot wait for the morning, so we can do it all again.

Yes, sometimes the reminders that we’re getting wrapped up in the wrong details come pounding on your door, and other times they are as light a feeling a butterfly land on your cheek.

And as I rest my head tonight, I will remember those that don’t have that chance to share their thoughts with the ones they love, with the world, with their friends and family – and I will enjoy more, and take for granted less.

And I will write.

Day 20 – Thoughts on gardening

I love to garden. I really, truly do. My problem is time. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

One of George's favorites out of the garden this year!

One of George’s favorites out of the garden this year!

Lately I’ve been reading a lot about people who are pretty serious about where other people should get their food from…and here’s a deep thought for them: butt out.

I’m sorry, that’s not very polite, but I’m getting a little tired of the judgments that occur daily, without people thinking twice about what it is that they are truly saying.

Guess what? The world’s not such an easy place. Answers aren’t always black or white, and so many times we get so wrapped up in being right, that we forget what it is we’re even arguing about! Argh! (Sorry, there went a rant, I should have warned you.)

Let me put it this way: If you can garden, go ahead. If you can buy organic, go ahead. If you have 10 minutes to shop and the produce aisle in Wallyworld happens to be right next to the diaper aisle, go ahead.

We need to quit getting so wrapped up in other people’s business, shouting from the rooftops that they aren’t doing it “right” that we forget to be thankful that they can even make those decisions to begin with…there are so many that do not have that privilege. And yes, it’s a privilege.

I garden because I enjoy it, not because I do not believe that anyone else could possibly grow food for my children. I use my canner because it’s a tradition, not because I fear anything at the grocery store.

Homemade salsa, a staple for the winter months!

Homemade salsa, a staple for the winter months!

But my decisions are just that, my decisions. And you each have your own to make.

It’s a month of thankfulness, perhaps we should work on that, instead of judgments.

Just a thought.

Day 6 – Thoughts on Miss A

Who is Miss A? Well, she’s my rock. Without her, I would not be able to travel, would not have the support system that I do, would miss out on one of the most rewarding friendships I’ve ever had.

Miss A and George. They make me smile.

Miss A and George. They make me smile.

Here are the things you need to know about Miss A:

  • She pretends to be tough, but I know she’s not. Just don’t tell her I told you that, I don’t want her beating me up. ;)
  • She’s sassy. And so am I. It’s why we get along so well. That, and we like to drive other people nuts. It works.
  • She loves my boys as if they were her family…and they kind of are, actually. I trust her unconditionally.Miss A and EJ...two peas.
  • She is driven, has goals and a clear path to get there. That’s not typical in today’s youth. At least, not from my experience. And although we sometimes butt heads over stuff, most of the time it’s simply because neither one of us is willing to concede the point. She’s stubborn. Really. It’s all her. Trust me.
  • She steals my Almond Joys.
  • She reminds me to be me. That means a lot. ‘Cuz sometimes I forget.

I’m not ready to face the fact that she’ll be in a different city next year. In fact, I live in denial pretty readily about that. Looking for a replacement? Never. I couldn’t, even if I tried. There is no other Miss A.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Knowing when to hold your horses

 I am on a bus, on my way out of a tour at a horse sanctuary. It was a first for me…I had to walk away, knowing that I could not express the ideas and opinions in my head.  It wasn’t because I wasn’t sure what to say, or how to word it, it was because I knew that we were too far apart in the conversation. We would never see eye to eye and neither of us would  be able to be rational in our discussion.  

When the conversation turned to horse slaughter, and comments were being made that equated the horses in the rescue to children, I knew that our views were not compatible. So I decided to walk away.  Sometimes in life you need to know “when to hold ’em and when to fold ’em,” and this was one of those moments.

Why did I walk away?  

It was the right thing to do. We were on a tour, I was a guest on a farm and I had no business criticizing her decisions on her home turf. It would have been rude, impolite and unacceptable.  But it doesn’t change how I feel, and it most certainly didn’t change my opinion.

But I did learn a lesson on how to walk away, and exercising control.  

My tongue will heal from biting it, my brain is spinning from the information and I was motivated to break out my blog…so it was a great experience.  

But I will admit that I did not leave anything in the donation box. That was as loud of a statement that I could make.