I'm a little behind in blogging, and there are some things I don't want to skip...like this wonderful holiday!
I just LOVE Thanksgiving. It might be my favorite holiday. (It's hard to commit to a favorite, you know, when they're all so wonderful!) I enjoy the colors of fall, the focus on God's blessings and abundance, the anticipation of the Christmas season just around the corner, the wonderful yummy food, family and friends intentionally gathering together to celebrate and proclaim our thankfulness together....yes, it's a great holiday!
The year that Sam and I were dating (we met in August of 1998) Sam was in the process of buying a house. It had an unfinished basement, and somehow he convinced the builder to allow him to do the work on the basement before closing on the house. He asked his dad to come up (to Montana, from Colorado) and help him finish it over Thanksgiving.
In my 20 year old wisdom, I spontaneously offered to cook them a Thanksgiving feast at Sam's apartment. Nevermind that I had very little cooking experience, had never cooked a turkey or many of the side dishes that I was planning and thought mashed potatoes and stuffing came from boxed mixes! :)
I honestly don't remember much about that first Thanksgiving, except that everyone seemed pleased that I had pulled it off. The turkey was fully cooked and nobody got sick from anything that I had made. I'm pretty sure I even came up with a pie, although that detail slips my mind now.
The following year we were newly married and I had yet another chance to have Thanksgiving at my house. I think we did it because we wouldn't be able to travel to Sam's parent's house at Thanksgiving AND Christmas, so we said we would do Christmas and they could come up for Thanksgiving. I was so excited. I made up cheesy little invitations out of construction paper and sent them out to Sam's parents, his sister and brothers. To my great joy, Sam's sister and family were able to come too! My mom and brother were there and it was a really special time.
So with two Thanksgiving dinners under my belt, I claimed the Thanksgiving holiday as 'mine.' Every year after that I had the privilige of hosting the gathering at our house. It grew over the years to include more children, friends and even friends of friends. My brother would invite anyone he knew who didn't have a place to go and we would ask our single friends to come.
This has been something that I look forward to all year. I really thrive on opening my home up to others and this gives me a creative outlet for cooking and serving and decorating. Once we moved to Texas, we continued the tradition of hosting at our house the first year. We had a table full of people from Sam's work. The following year, Sam's sister Amy offered to host. Their neighborhood has a beautiful, large clubhouse that anyone can rent out. She rented the facility and set up an incredible (and very loooong) table and served a wonderful meal. It was fun to have everyone together, but it was a little sad for me because I enjoy the cooking so much!
The year after that, Kelly and Jon were in the process of adopting Matthew from Russia. MaryBeth and Kelly were there over Thanksgiving. We had a smaller celebration at our house but it was an odd one, having family members so far away! That all bring us up to this past Thanksgiving.
This summer we were talking about plans and trying to figure out what everyone was doing. MaryBeth offered Thanksgiving honors to me, if I would want to have everyone over at our house. Of course I jumped at the chance! With so much more family down here, it's harder to 'claim' a holiday as one's own, so I had no illusions that this one would remain mine. :)
This was the largest group I've ever hosted and it definitely presented it's own challenges. We seated 27....but our dining room table comfortably seats 8. We ended up borrowing a couple of 10 ft long tables and turning them sideways. We had an immediate-family-adult table, a friends-and-girls table, and a boys only table. We put the boys table in the study (which is within sight of the dining room, but slightly removed) so they could be themselves, which is to say rowdy, noisy, silly, etc! It actually worked out beautifully. We might have been packed into that dining room like sardines, but we were able to keep conversations going between the tables and everyone seemed to truly enjoy themselves.
I know I'm a little behind, but Happy Thanksgiving! Hope yours was a blessed holiday full of family, friends and the joy of our Lord! :)