This year has blown by.
I cannot even believe Thanksgiving is in two days.
Can I get a hands up for who's not ready?
I've got two hands raised.
I've got two hands raised.
That's how behind I am.
I may not have anything planned to eat for dinner on Thursday
but I do have our Christmas cards done.
Stackable coupon codes from Shutterfly will do that to a girl.
They know how to speak my language...
my love language of saving money that is.
I saved like eighty seven smacks by ordering them last week.
Of course today I saw they have another 50% off code.
Oh well, at least its done.
And now I have another project after having reviewed
thousands of iPhone pictures from the past year...
I've got to schedule family portraits.
You know you need to do this when the only recent picture
you have of your whole immediate family is at the zoo
when they corner you at the entrance and sucker you
into paying some obscene amount for one picture.
Says the bad mom who now thinks that was the best money ever spent :)
So we may not have family pictures or Thanksgiving dinner but we have a card.
I'll take it.
I wasn't sure if it was the right thing to do but
I put a picture of our niece who died this year on our card.
I wasn't sure, still not maybe
I wasn't sure, still not maybe
but to me that's how I put our annual cards together...
like a year in review of photos,
places we've been, people we've seen.
I asked my husband yesterday if he thought his brother and his wife would mind.
He said he didn't think so.
That was part of our year and it can't be undone.
As much as we wish it could be.
There's another picture I used too,
of our three sons
underneath a Texas state flag
that was painted on some old patina'd wood.
It was taken at a restaurant in a parking lot.
The last day we saw her.
We went to a basketball game with her
and had eaten lunch at this place.
I saw the flag and said hey...this would be a great picture.
Hey guys, yelling at our boys who were running around,
y'all come on and let's take a picture.
Our niece and her friend ran to get in the shot.
I asked them if I could just take a shot of the boys.
Because I was only thinking about getting a shot for our damn card.
I was so rude.
They didn't care, they just chatted away
and were like ok, Whatevs, no big deal.
As soon as I said oh no, just of the boys if that's ok,
I realized how I should have done it.
Take a picture with them all, then asked for just one of the boys.
I get it.
I screwed up.
I do that often you know.
I never thought that would be the last day with her.
I was speeding through our day,
trying to tick off another box on the to do list of life.
Thinking I'd ticked one off way early before Christmas.
A mom at our kids school passed away recently.
She was my age.
Here one minute.
Gone the next.
We took a walk as a family a few days after.
One of my twins holding my hand as we walked.
He's nearly as tall as me now.
As we walked I wondered internally how much longer
he'll willingly hold my hand in public.
The sun was setting and we were heading back home.
We were quiet in our own heads until he wondered aloud
about the children of our friend who passed away.
He said I bet they wish they were on a walk with their mom right now.
I agreed, trying to hold back tears.
I said that's why we have to cherish every day baby,
why we have to let small stuff go,
knowing that most things in life are small,
we often just get confused about what matters
and what we should let go of.
Long lines and traffic...let it go.
Think of it as a chance to stop and breathe and look around.
Things like walks at sunset...do that often,
especially with someone you love.
I get irritated at things, silly things, all too often.
I ask myself now, do these things really matter?
Matter enough that your blood pressure blips up by a few points?
I have yet to find one that truly justifies my annoyance.
Our youngest who proclaims every Monday morning
that he hates Mondays...not allowed I tell him.
Every day is a great day and a gift you're not allowed to NOT be thankful for.
Go back to bed if you need to and let's try it again in five
but there are kids around the world
that would give anything to be able to go to school.
Kids his age are working to help provide for their families,
not going to school to learn and have fun.
I ask him if he would rather go to work or to school.
Your choice I tell him but you have to pick one.
School wins every time for him.
He's lucky and I wont let him forget it.
As much as I love to clean I will admit that
mountains of laundry and dirty dishes can get on my nerves.
I think of my grandmother who only had a washing machine late late in life.
It sat on her back porch alone, she never had a dryer.
Even in her 80s she hung things out on a line in the backyard.
In my single days I went to a Laundromat.
My husband always points it out to our kids on our trips home
and they giggle at the thought of me there.
Today I have a laundry room in my house
and believe you me I'm thankful.
No walking to the river like some still do today.
Dirty dishes mean we have plenty to eat.
Even if I don't have a menu planned for Thursday I know we'll eat beautifully.
Yes, there are seats that will be empty now,
never to be filled again
by family and friends who have left us too early.
These life lessons,
as much as I would trade them in a heartbeat,
teach me and my kids on a daily basis
to be gracious and grateful
for all that we have
and for everything we don't.
I'm thankful beyond measure
for family and for friends near and far
who put up with me and my shenanigans
and continue to love me and my imperfections.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
who shows me more love and forgiveness than I deserve.
I'm blessed and I know it.
I hope you and yours have a lovely, loving Thanksgiving.
Thanks for reading.