I really do believe Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. Probably a month from now, I will believe it is Christmas. Never-the-less, I love Thanksgiving more every year.
It is not about the food. It is more about preparing food that holds memories. Special dishes prepared especially with a certain person in mind just because it will make them happy.
We did the math–this is the thirteenth year that we have hosted the extended family Thanksgiving. The Thanksgivings of my childhood were filled with anticipation. Siblings would return from college; others might or might not be home from military service. My youngest brother and I would stand guard between the glass and draperies of the living room windows. Periodically, my dad would send my mom off the deep end by announcing, “Here they aren’t!”, as she frantically worked to pull together final details.
I grew up to marry a man from a small, reserved family. Our absence was keenly noticed (and commented upon) at his family gatherings, while my family gatherings wore him out. Before long we settled into a compromise of Thanksgiving at home, just our little family.
When my second-born was ten, she asked why we never had big Thanksgivings of the sort depicted by Norman Rockwell. By that point the extended family had outgrown Mom and Dad’s place. She assures me there was much more to this conversation than I recall. What I do know was the phone started ringing about a week before Thanksgiving. By the third sibling announcing he or she would be bringing their family to our house for Thanksgiving, I began asking questions. It seems my child interpreted my musings about big family Thanksgivings as permission to play hostess. She mailed out invitations to all her aunts and uncles on my side unbeknownst to me. The response was tremendous; the company amazing. The first several years four generations were represented. Without Mom we span just three.
Online this week I saw a huge array of snappy come-backs and zingers suggested for use on annoying relatives this Thanksgiving. Many people, it seemed, were expecting the worst from their holiday reunion. How sad, I thought. I also thought how extremely fortunate I am to have Thanksgivings to look forward to, and family I not only love, but actually like as well.
A mère/son project. Each Monday while my son studies abroad, he takes a photo of France. I share a picture of life in Topeka, Ks. An effort to melt away the distance.
Place de la République, between the 10th and 11th arrondissements of Paris in the midst of where the deplorable acts took place last Friday. The Place de la Rèpublique has become a makeshift memorial to those killed.
Oblivious to blustery weather, a final rose bloomed in our yard in Topeka, KS.
Like much of the world I have Paris on my mind today. I am most grateful that my son is well and was not near any of the violence yesterday, but I am saddened for those who were not as fortunate.
I am thankful that mine is a God of grace, a God who tells us to forgive rather than seek vengeance on a people we don’t even know.
(The fleur di lis can be spotted everywhere in Paris.)
I am thankful for the hearts of people the world over who are holding the people of Paris in loving thoughts and prayers. For those who participated in #porteouverte to offer a safe space for those left on the street during the attacks. For taxi drivers who turned off their meters and began taking people home to safety. For city leaders the world over who somehow managed to quickly bathe iconic buildings in their own corner of the world in the colors of the French flag to show unity and support of the people of Paris. For the countless stories of sacrifice and bravery that are bound to emerge in the upcoming days.
(Crying angel adorning the side of a building somewhere in Paris)
I am thankful that in a world where senseless violence is far too common, the majority of souls are still pure enough to feel horror when it occurs. I am faithful that when we come together against terror, we can overcome.
(Along the Seine)
And I am thankful to have a son who is so thoughtful that made contact saying he was safe before news of the violence had even reached us saving us untold worry and fear.
(The Eiffel Tower)
(Atop the Opera House, Paris)
(The Arch De Triumph)
Eight of my currently favorite things are represented by the photographs of Paris in this post.
After dozens of trips to Chicago, finally this summer I made it to Millennium Park for a glimpse of Cloud Gate or as I have always heard it called, The Bean. The design couldn’t be more simple, yet it captivated me for a long, long time.
I studied the reflection for ages attempting to find myself, but from this perspective I never did. Distance and space are subtly manipulated in the gentle curve of the sculpture.
If the angle is just right, the eye could begin to question what is real and what is merely a projected image.
The curve of the sculpture allows it to capture heights and lengths far beyond that of The Bean’s own dimensions. Towering buildings appear to stretch and bend towards the art as though drawn to it. Light, architecture, movement, life are all reflected in this one ever changing piece of art making me realize this oversized bean is not so simple after all.