For the next thirty days I am going to highlight something for which I am thankful. Too many days go by where I forget to even acknowledge that which I am so blessed to have. I rarely live in the reality that 99% of the world lives on less than what I have. I spend too much time focusing on that material things in life, which will all pass, and not enough on those things that God says are eternal.
Today I am thankful for:
My family heritage
I realize this may seem strange at first, but once I explain I think you'll understand why I am so thankful for my family's heritage. About this time of year I am always so grateful to the legacy that my grandparents have given me. Thanksgiving is a HUGE event in our family. Christmas is big, but it can be missed for the in laws every other year without hearing too many people complain. But Thanksgiving...it is basically stated in the wedding vows that you will ALWAYS be there. My grandparents were attending Asbury College in Wilmore, Kentucky 48 years ago. They were married students living in married student housing. They had become good friends with another couple from Pittsburgh, PA who also lived in the married student duplexes. Since my grandparents were from New Jersey and very poor, they were unable to make it home for Thanksgiving. Their friends were in a similar situation. So, in attempts to make a sad situation better, they had their very first Thanksgiving together, having no idea what they had just created. From that point on the two families - the Stevenson's and Vogel's - became one. This year will be the 48th year we've celebrated Thanksgiving together. There are 43 of us in all now, including spouses, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. We usually go to Pittsburgh and stay with the Vogels and use thier church facilities for the gathering. However, this year my grandmother is finishing up her chemotherapy so we will all be traveling to Kentucky (so that my grandparents don't have to travel). We rent out a huge church fellowship hall, stay in a hotel, and eat about three of the biggest turkey's you've ever seen. We all arrive on Thanksgiving day and help prepare the meal. Before the meal begins we each go around and say what we are thankful for that year (note that there have been marriage proposals and baby announcements done at this time as well), needless to say, there are always lots of tears. This alone takes almost two hours! After the time of giving thanks we all stand, join hands, and sing the doxology - I promise you've never heard it sung so sweet. The day after Thanksgiving is always so much fun. We usually have a theme for the day, past years have included the Amazing Race, Survivor, Medieval Times, and other things like taking a school bus to the movies, or renting out a Japanese Hibachi grille. Whatever we do, it is always amazing! I've never spent a Thanksgiving any other way but this, and yet, I realize every bit how precious this tradition is and how important it is to hold to. If you sat around our Thanksgiving table you would not know where the Stevenson's end and the Vogel's begin. I am so Thankful.