Our Thanksgiving

We hadn’t planned to travel for Thanksgiving this year, but when our friends Matthew and Leah invited us to join their crew for the holiday, both Daniel and I were immediately excited. We packed up after school Tuesday, and head down to south west Georgia first thing Wednesday morning.

Leah and I texted back and forth several weeks prior planning a delicious menu with every yummy thing one looks forward to on Thanksgiving every year. We brought with us a 20lb turkey from Trader Joe’s, and nearly from the first minutes we arrived, the kitchen was a bustle of preparation – pies, homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, gravy, bright stewed green beans, and even Daniel’s childhood favorite Oreo cookie pie, made with homemade creamy pudding, and fresh whipped cream. (I’ll need to perfect this before Christmas).

Leah has made a lovely home, that exudes peacefulness and creativity, and our couple days there were so refreshing after several weeks of challenging ministry and life. The weather was warm and overcast. The boys spent their time romping in the back yard, or playing contentedly with the buckets of toys. The dressed up in the super hero costumes Ralphie insisted on bringing to share with 4 year old Nahum. They filled play suitcases and tin lunch boxes with gadgets and treasure (and extra costumes for Ralphie) and wandered all through the house full of their own little conversations.

Leah and Matthew’s three daughters were a real joy to be around. Their sweet voices, friendly “good morning!” greetings, and warm hugs. I want one of each, please. They were a big help in the kitchen, and keeping the house tidy, playing with the boys, and kept the house ringing with Christmas carols and other beautiful melodies from the piano. They even managed to engage Grace, and get her to play games and talk with them, which warmed my heart.

Matthew cares for the sheep and goats at White Oak Pastures. We missed his company and storytelling while he was wrangling runaway sheep – literally! They got loose! – Wednesday evening, but he and Daniel caught up in no time at all, and bonded over their shared interests of reading and napping, which they both enjoyed thoroughly (as they deserved).

And Leah and I, well, it took us twice as long to cook that feast because we couldn’t stop talking. She’s a kindred spirit, and our thoughts on homemaking, education, child training, food, and faith are like one. We nursed our big boys together, and talked about savoring every last bit of babyhood. Her friendship is iron sharpening iron for my mind and heart, and I am so thankful.

Worth mentioning is pretty Holly, their white standard poodle, whom all three of our kids were practically begging for by the end of our trip. She’s the first dog I’ve been able to pet without beginning to wheeze so we may put one on our list for Santa – in a year or two! ;)

These pictures bring me so much joy. Ralphie said, when he saw them, “But mom, how did you take pictures so sneaky?” I just love documenting the ordinary, every day goodness. There’s so much gratitude that springs from it, I think.

Wednesday and Thursday we spent some time reading aloud, everyone snuggled close, and beautiful prose or poetry filling our ears and opening our imaginations. Six year old Naomi recited her newly memorized poem, which I think is fitting for this post.

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.

-Emily Dickinson