Happy Thanksgiving!

We hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!  What a blessing it is to share Thanksgiving with the ones you love! This year was bitter-sweet for our family. How blessed we were that our family could be together!  I know all over the world there were families separated by states and even countries- by those serving in the army – and for other various reasons. We are so thankful that we were healthy enough to be together -that we were able to share in this wonderful celebration as a family!

Jose made a feast that we could brag about for days! Though our table served only 10 people this year – including Miss Beth – I have to admit there was a little sorrow that we weren’t able to include all of our staff. Last year we set the table for nearly 30 staff. To learn more about last year you can check out this blog: http://lifeoffering.org/2013/11/29/a-mole-thanksgiving/

Last year we did a little game during our Thanksgiving Meal called –  Kindness Partners. Everyone drew names and had to perform 3 acts of kindness for the person they drew. They had 1 month to perform these 3 acts of kindness without being caught. In the end –  if they guessed their partner correctly than they got a prize. If they didn’t guess correctly than their Kindness Partner got a prize. Though we weren’t able to do a Thanksgiving Feast this year- we still drew names for our acts of Kindness. We also plated our family leftovers for our security guards who were famished. In famine or in feast – we will still do our part to create traditions and memories for those we love.

This past year our family wrapped up gifts from our children to pass on to our orphan family. We will do this on Christmas Eve. Though passing along used gifts is something that’s great to do – our children felt like the orphans deserved something brand new.  The girls told us that it’s not fair that they get new things but that the orphans always get hand-me downs. They wanted to contribute their chore money as well as our family benevolence money  – to help buy each orphan a new gift. We did this in July and shipped them to Haiti along with our other supplies.

Today it was so much fun to watch the girls label and wrap each doll – specifically matched to the child they thought would love it the most. I love how benevolent our children are to the orphan children. I love that they want them to have the best. I love that they worry about our orphans feeling as loved as they are. Asher has said on many occasions when he grows up he wants to be Haitian! He wants to be exactly how his best friends are. No doubt ALL of my kids have a heart to help the least of these.

Tonight we went around the table and said what we were most thankful for. We sort of laughed when Asher said he was grateful that none of us were dead. But the truth is – many tables around the world are celebrating today with an empty chair. We know that Jose’s family is experiencing their 2nd Thanksgiving with a significant chair empty. The Holidays can be a blessing or a source of sorrow for so many families.

Tonight we prayed for families who had empty chairs around the table. We thanked God for allowing our family to meet around the table tonight. I hope all of us realize that each day is a gift – and each Thanksgiving we spend together is a blessing. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Let us celebrate EACH AND EVERY day with those we love.

Tonight our family spent time together playing games & watching Christmas movies together after our Thanksgiving Dinner. We have 12 nights of crafts to do together as a family – we shipped them in July.  I must say that Oriental Trading makes things look MUCH easier online than in person! Our ornaments and deer don’t quite look like the picture in the magazine  – though we invested much time – as they took over an hour to make!

The point of all of this  – is to make memories -to create traditions. Though my family never had much – they always made memories that today I still hold close to my heart. I often sit in front of our tree – with Christmas music playing in the background – remembering with tears all the sacrifices my parents made for us children….just so we could have memories that they couldn’t necessarily afford.

I know for some –  Christmas brings loneliness and sorrow. Although my house is full of noise & children – sometimes I feel that same sorrow remembering the Christmases when I grew up. As my parents are older and my brothers and sisters now have families of their own – I miss when we were kids – drama free in our own worlds – growing up together. I’ll never forget the wonderful traditions my parents instilled in us.

So tonight I hope that everyone went to bed with not only full bellies – but with memories that last a life-time. We will forever be grateful for the sacrifices on our behalf. Know that we pray for each and every one. Though we are currently experiencing difficult times – we are grateful – so very grateful from the bottom of our hearts – for those who choose to invest in our family! We thank God for YOU daily.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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