Time is flying by on the homefront. It seems like we had just opened our camper for the season when we emptied it and got it ready for winter. That's the first sign of November.
Planning for our thanksgiving feast is another sign. We know with a large family, it's usually much easier to host holiday events than to drag 7 kids to other homes. Besides, it's not like we get a ton of invitations anyway!! We sat down last week to prepare our dinner list, always including the standard fare, along with a couple of new dishes this year. We plan on having about 9 guests, so will be bringing all the table and chairs out of the basement, and washing up all the table covers. I think of the first thanksgiving and wonder what they would think of our use of paper plates, and disposable dinner wear. I love a fancy table, but when you feed a crowd, it's one of the sacrifices I am willing to make for it to be a day of fellowship, and not extra work.
We also started putting our Santa lists together this week. I admit, it's hard to write a wish list when the temps have been warmer than some parts of our summer this year. I think once the snow flies, I feel more in the holiday mood, and it seems much more real once the trees are lit. We started a family tradition last year with joining one of our children's birth grandma and taking an old fashioned wagon ride to the pine tree farm to pick out the perfect tree. Since we have a couple of asthmatics in our family, we put the real tree on the porch out front, and the artificial tree in the house. Both become spectacular sights, and we enjoy the decorating. Last year our house still had the outside wrap on it, since we didn't get the siding done until this spring, so we always teased that the lights on the tree made a wonderful advertisment for our local lumber company. I wonder if they will miss that this year? Our outdoor tree was (of course) the most expensive on the lot, and this year I hope to encourage the kids to find a perfect "cheaper" tree. Oh to be young again and not have to be concerned about money!
So, I started my christmas shopping, wondering how to teach the kids about the true meaning of the holiday, and still enjoy the American traditions that we all enjoy. We started by choosing 3 names of children off of our church Christmas tree that need some loving, and began purchasing gifts for them that may be the only thing they receive this year. We will begin our baking after thanksgiving, with the plan of making trays to give to our neighbors, and hopefully taking some to the women's shelter downtown. In times past we have made boxes that are sent to orphanages overseas, but this year I am looking for other ways to help the kids really be involved in helping some who are less fortunate than we are. I have asked them to consider what we can do either individually, or as a family, to help someone else. I am hoping they can come up with some good answers on their own.
In the midst of all the business of life, I am reaching into my own heart and trying to define the things I am blessed with, and express my thankfulness for them. I realize there are so many ways I am blessed by family, friends, and even strangers, and I hope that I am living my life as a blessing to others. The words I say, the things I do, the people I am around.
Our homestudy is finally nearing completion, and we hope to have the hard copy in hand right after the holiday. I hear rumors about international adoption closing its doors and I fight the panic response. I am more than ready to welcome our newest children into our home. I dream of them. I wonder throughout the day who they are, what they look like, when will they come home? I try to trust in an all knowing Father who knows our hearts and the hearts of Kings, and I won't give up the desire of my heart until I know for sure we have done all we can do to reach our children.
Until then, we go through our days, counting our blessings, reaching out to others, teaching the important things of life to our children, and praying daily for what is ahead. I hope you can do the same, and I look forward to hearing how you have succeeded in your life goals, also. God bless you and yours in this season of thanksgiving.