Happy Thanksgiving!

The hustle and bustle of the season is upon us! As much as I love the fall, I love the chillier weather that comes around this time of year. The holidays just wouldn't be the same without cozy hats and gloves, mugs of hot chocolate, and long evenings by the fire.

Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays. I love the festive afternoon meal, the time with family and friends, and the focus on thankfulness. I grew up with many wonderful Thanksgiving Day traditions. We used to start the day by baking sweet potato biscuits, cooking the turkey, reheating casseroles, and making a batch of wild rice soup (Mom's favorite). In between "helping" in the kitchen, we'd watch the Macy's parade while busily unwrapping the silverware for dinner. In the afternoon, we greeted friends and family, watched Dad carve the turkey, and gathered around the table (or two, depending on the number of guests!) At each place, there were three kernels of dried corn and before dinner, we took turns speaking our blessings aloud (one thing for each kernel). It was always a wonderful opportunity to pause -- contemplate what it means to be thankful -- and share three of our many blessings.

This year, I'm exceedingly thankful for sweet friends and family who blessed us with thoughtful cards and gifts and celebrated our wedding day with us, for Steve - the love of my life - and the life God has set before us, and for the gift of grace.

Tomorrow, we'll begin our holiday weekend - we're spending a few days down at Steve's parents' home in CT for a time of feasting, fellowship, and Christmas tree-hunting! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Surprise! I have another wedding sneak peek for you today. This was our first moment as "Mr. and Mrs. Danyew" (a great iPhone capture - thanks, Cindy!) It's hard for me to believe that that picture was taken almost three weeks ago! Where has the time gone?

Yesterday, I admired the bold orange and red foliage on my way to teach in Fitchburg. Today, it's snowing (with an inch on the ground!) We're nearing one of my favorite holidays, you know. Of course, it comes wrapped up with both of our birthdays, Christmas, and New Year's all packaged into one busy holiday season. It's that time of the year when people talk about thankfulness and giving. "Take time to be thankful," they say. Take time to be thankful? What time?! There are thank you notes to write, emails to send, quizzes to grade, music to practice, phone calls to return, and services to be planned. Part of me says, "I'll take the time to count my blessings once I get through Christmas." This year, I'm learning that like grace, thankfulness is a way of life.

It shouldn't be something we just "do" because it's that time of the year. There's no prescribed method for "giving thanks" or "counting your blessings." For some, it might be a morning or evening prayer of gratitude. For others a passing, "Thank you," to someone for holding the door into the post office. For others still, it might be the act of listing their everyday blessings. For me, it's taking a moment to be still in the midst of very busy schedule, be peaceful in the midst of conflict, and be grateful.

I am grateful for my husband and our new life together.

I am grateful I was able to witness the first snowfall of the year this afternoon.

I am grateful for an energetic group of children who love to sing in choir.

I am grateful for all of our friends and family who came together to celebrate with us a few weeks ago.

I am grateful for the opportunity to witness joy on people's faces.

I am grateful for quiet evenings at home after long, busy days.

I am grateful for opportunities to teach and learn.

(And just because of the week I've had) I am grateful for the moments that get me fired up because I know God is shaping and molding me into His likeness.

I am grateful for the gift of new mercies each morning ("great is Thy faithfulness...").

I am grateful for moments of spontaneity and sheer bliss (as captured in the photo above).

I am grateful for love and acceptance and compassion.

I am grateful for grace, each and every day.


Will you join me in committing to live a life of gratefulness?