I posted about one thing I’m thankful for each day last week leading up to Thanksgiving (see insta pictures on the header up there). And we filled our tree up to the brim with gratitude. We lived up those days of Thanksgiving with all our might (it may take me a while to recover from all that “living up,” I tell you!).

But it was still tough for me to let the girls help me take all the Thanksgiving stuff down and pack it away a couple days ago.

Made me a little melancholy.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m so excited for December and all the beauty that it holds. But Thanksgiving has such a huge piece of my heart. There is nothing like gathering with loved ones, the feeling of gratitude filling up all the crevices in the air around you.

I don’t think I can officially jump into December until I stop for a minute here and take in so much gratitude for all that has happened around here over Thanksgiving break. We were filled up to the very brim with so many good people making good things happen. Oh there are SO many little details of preparation and sleepless nights and service from so many and love that filled up those days and weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and I will have to get to when I actually have a minute to upload my cell phone pictures, but for now let’s just talk about Thanksgiving itself.

Which started out bright and early with our NINTH annual Turkey Trot:

…with NO RAIN (the forecast had called for non-stop rain for a week before the big day, and it held off!), and which exceeded our expectations with the thousands who showed up to run and enjoy that morning of giving thanks.

But that is a post all by itself hopefully tomorrow.

For today let’s talk about how ALL of Dave’s siblings were in town, and we got to host them all here at our house for the big meal. Let’s just take a moment to admire these nine who are all so awesome in their own ways:

I am the luckiest I get to be related to each of them.

Since we had the Turkey Trot in the morning, everyone signed up to bring pretty much all of the food. I was in charge of whipping this place into place to host. This is what we did on the tables this year:

Loved having everyone gathered around putting all the finishing touches together:

And loved having Dave welcome them all with a prayer…and also a few jokes. Ha!

Can’t you just almost feel the love filling up that room?

The rain magically held off even long enough for us to have a giant wiffle ball game in the back yard:

This was one of my many favorite “moments” of the day. I sat there with all those people I love and loved listening to the banter and laughing and love seeping out, snuggling my newest little baby nephew born only four days before (and I got to be in the hospital room when he was born to take pictures, a holy experience I’ll have to share soon).

Time stood still as life in all it’s glory swirled around me.

And then it was time for dessert.

Oh yeah.

So grateful to be “enshrouded in a family.”

Most everyone stayed late into the night, and we talked and talked as the kids jumped and played and all was well in the world.

The last guests left close to 11, and then as I tidied up getting ready for Dave’s birthday the next day, and my big girls FaceTimed from Maui where they spent Thanksgiving with my brother as Claire and I worked on laundry and cousins negotiated going to midnight black Friday shopping and then a slew of them slept over here and as soon as I got all that situated I lay down next to Dave, dog-tired with so much gratitude running through me.

I lay thinking how take for granted things like what a glorious thing it is to have a regular weekend night, freedom stretched out before us all, or a fridge that I can open and whip something up to eat from, a mom who’s beautiful example stretches quiet tentacles to influence so much of what I think and do…and now what my kids do too.  And her mom before her, and her mom before her…the sacrifices they make for good, the choices they have made that we learn from. And Dave’s mother who raised all those children of hers so beautifully and who’s sparkly eyes are filled with so much goodness, and grandmothers too and oh of course all the dads too…and friends who build, strangers who open a door for me, teachers who sacrifice for my children, a home and that soft bed that enveloped my tired body.

There is so much goodness in the world. And so much gratitude to share.

Yes, Thanksgiving claims a bigger part of my heart each year. I think the older I get the more I realize the depth of the beauty all around.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


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    1. Can you tell me more about this because I don’t see it and I want to describe it to the ad people. I don’t want ads taking over!

  1. I totally teared up when you said you got to be present for your newest nephew’s birth. I was able to to be present for a friend’s birth recently, and it was even more beautiful than I could have imagined. I would love to hear about your experience. Birth holds such a sacred place in my heart. There is rarely a time that I feel the spirit more deeply than when beautiful birth experiences are shared. Like the veil between heaven and earth thins – handing a little soul from our Father in Heaven on the other side, to his angel mother and father on this. It is holy, beautiful, and tangible. What a gift to be present and capture those sacred moments for them.

  2. I heard something last week that has really stuck with me – What if the only things we had tomorrow are the things we gave thanks for today? Gulp, so much that I take for granted: electricity, clean water, not living in a war zone, etc.

    I’ve copied your gratitude tree idea the past few years and just love it. Thanks, as always, for sharing.

  3. That is just so beautifully written. Love the example you set for me as a mother of three (and one of ten children!) all the way from Wisconsin. Thank you.

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