“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord for his good; his love endures forever”. Psalm. 106:1
Happy Thanksgiving! I sincerely and genuinely wish you all a very Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving. As I write this, I am sitting in the dark in my living room, it is 6:00am on Thanksgiving morning. The fireplace is on. Michael, our almost 4 month-old, is snuggled up sleeping beside me. It is completely dark out and completely silent other than the sound of the fire. The smell of caramel rolls baking in the kitchen surrounds us and I am anticipating that at any moment Joseph will come walking out of his room, half awake, because he smells the caramel rolls and he is always the first one up. Today, we will be a great day in our home.
My Hope is that today will also be a great day in your home. My Hope is that your day, although it may look different than Thanksgivings in the past or Thanksgiving’s to come, that it will be filled with joy and memories that you can talk about for years to come. Today, I am thankful for each of you!
Like many of you, we are staying home. It will just be the 10 of us. In a “normal” year we are with one of our extended families and most often hosting the Kotrba side of our family. So, normally, we are with at least 10 more people if not 20-30. This year will be different. Today, we will eat our Thanksgiving “feast”, which by the way is probably just as big as every other year that we host. I guess when you are used to cooking for a lot of people it’s hard to change, that’s okay. Our kids love to help bake and cook to prepare for Thanksgiving, I did not want to change that. So, we still have five desserts. Today, I am thankful for our meal and the food that we have been provided.
This year, we will have zoom calls with each of our families in the afternoon so that we can all connect and those that have not been able to meet Michael will be able to “meet” him through the screen. I am thankful for technology in times like this.
This year, we have planned a family game day with minute to win it games, pie face and board games. Today, I am thankful for paper towels and wet wipes. Tonight, we will watch a movie, together, all of us, in one room. I am thankful for our home.
Believe it or not, I am thankful for this year, for 2020. Yes, that may not be the popular opinion, I know. But, I am truly thankful for this year, which I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago. We were traveling, as a family, to visit grandparents. I made a comment to the kids something to the effect of “what if we could go back to March 10th and replay the rest of the year without Covid, wouldn’t that be great”. One of our kids said, “I wouldn’t do it because I have learned so much about myself this year”. When prompted, she continued to tell us how this year has taught her who she really is. What she can handle. Who her true friends are. What a true friend is. How to believe in herself and her abilities. Wow, a lessoned learned from a 16-year old. Those words, from our oldest child, have stuck with me and replayed in my mind for the past several weeks. I think God knew that I needed to hear those words.
After contemplating Autumn’s words for several weeks, I decided that I needed to appreciate this year, 2020, for several reasons. There are so many reasons why I am grateful for 2020 but I believe that one of my biggest blessings of 2020 is that I have learned to truly live in the present moment. With a large family, my life often revolves around planning and timing and figuring out who will be where, when and how to get them there. Well, 2020 took care of most of that since we had nowhere to go and nothing to do for a good part of the past 8 months. I say that with a bit of a laugh, but as you all know, it is very true. Prior to life as we currently know it, I was always looking ahead, planning the next thing, figuring and coordinating the next days, weeks and even months ahead. This year, has allowed me to adjust my planning, to focus on what is happening right now, because as we all know, this year, anything could change within days or even hours, so there was really no use in planning ahead to far.
Living in the moment has allowed me to truly cherish the blessings that God has given me that I likely have taken for granted for so long. It allows me to appreciate others so much more. Living in the moment taught me to listen, to my children, my husband, my friends, family and team members even more intently than I did in the past. It allowed me to let go and let others take control of things that they do better than me. Living in the moment allowed me to focus on our newborn Michael while he spent 10 days in NICU and it allowed me to say yes to the wonderful family and friends that took care of the rest of my kids and all of us in the weeks after Michael’s birth as we adjusted to life after the early arrival of this beautiful blessing.
Today, wherever you are. Whether your alone or with family or friends. I hope that you will take time to live in the moment. Enjoy what you have today. Your family. Your pet. Your friend. The silence or the noise. To everyone it looks different. Enjoy your moment today. Enjoy Thanksgiving. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good; his love endures forever”.