Thanksgiving was a good time. We had, at the peak of the crowd, ten people in our small lake house in Granbury, and most of us stayed for five days. Ten people, even people we like, felt a bit like we were always on top of each other, especially for the introverted branch of the family – namely, me, Katie, and Madden.
Besides cooking excellent food and deserts, we finished several projects: replaced a broken and dead washing machine, assembled and put into service two bunkbeds, and repaired (rerouted) the washing machine drain pipe.
Our son Byron was in charge of preparing Thanksgiving dinner, Cyndi and daughter-in-law Angela made pies, Cyndi handled breakfast (including some improvisatory pancakes that contained none of the expected ingredients, but were very tasty), daughter Katie made gooey delicious sandwiches. Me – I mostly took care of the ice. Thanks to me, we had plenty of ice. Especially since I was the only one who used it.
We watched two football games in which the wrong teams won, a Christmas movie or two, and Cyndi guided our granddaughters through a series of Christmas crafts.
We attended the annual Granbury Christmas parade, which is always short in length but deep in small-town-Texas values. It was crowded. We arrived an hour before parade start and nabbed the only remaining frontage to set our lawn chairs. All the rest of the courthouse square was occupied, all the way around, both sides of the street.
This year, I brought a project of my own for everyone to do together. It was something I found in a newsletter by Austin Kleon, one of my most significant influences nowadays. He published a tiny Gratitude Zine and instructions for making your own. I printed enough pages for us each to have one.
Kleon wrote, It is possible to have everything and feel nothing! It’s possible to be alive and feel dead! Here are some exercises that help me cultivate gratitude and be awake to what’s good in my life.
I wrote, I’m thankful for:
(2) B & K & A & T & K & M & L & D
(4) dirt trails
(6) playing music
(7) my Daily Bible
(9) cycling with a tailwind
(10) Cyndi’s homemade apple pie.
My list of people I’ve learned from and what they taught me:
Thanks to my dad, who taught me to find the joke in all things and all times.
Thanks to my mom, who taught me to pay attention to details and to read and observe.
Thanks to Cyndi, who taught me to be open to wacky ideas and spontaneous fun.
And what do I love to do (not nouns, or objects, but verbs that give joy)?
Move – run, bike, hike
Read – lots of books
Write – express personal thoughts
Music – play and improvise
Teach – give away what I’ve received.
I encourage you to download this Gratitude Zine and answer the questions. Being intentionally grateful takes courage because so many things come at us unexpectedly. It’s easier, lazier, to simply complain about everything, but who wants to live a sorry life like that?
Why does it matter? Because the grace of God follows, even chases after, hearts full of gratitude. I hope this holiday season is a grateful, thankful, worship experience for you. Thank you for reading these blog entries. I am grateful for you.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32