Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass- it is about learning to dance in the rain.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Capturing those memories! (This family is a bit camera nuts. That's almost 5 year old M2 with the digital, almost 7 year old M1 with the video, Rob and I both also manned cameras...Creative Memories here we come!) It's Bob's birthday!
We've been married for more than 37 years and during that time have had a variety of Thanksgiving experiences. The first year we spent in the jungle (1976), I didn't have a stove yet, so for Thanksgiving we ate fruit, salad and chicken I grilled in an electric skillet. Some years we've had Thanksgiving with my Dad and eaten wild turkey, sometimes fried instead of baked, and venison for dinner. Or other times we've spent with Aunt Lois and had traditional turkey and all the trimmings. Last year my sister and her kids and grandkids were here and we had a traditional meal here.

I was just looking at the words to "Inconvenient Christmas" and began thinking about Thanksgiving adventures. This year will be calm. The kids are coming Wednesday night -- They're cooking. (No one lets me cook these days. They say I look too tired.) Then Thanksgiving Day they go to their in-laws and it will be Bob and I with Bismarck. Should be very laid back and easy...Except in the evening the little girls are coming to spend the night so Mommy and Aunt Christy can hit the early morning shopping of "Black Friday". (I'd rather poke a stick in my eye than brave the crowds that day!) But we've had our share of "inconvenient" Thanksgivings. But somehow they turned out to be Thanksgiving blessings!

I can't remember exactly which year it was that we got stuck in Bloomington on Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. The boys were young -- high school students -- and Wesley was with us. Our car broke down as we were taking the bypass through Bloomington intending to stop and eat. Instead we just stopped. It was right in front of a car lot. So while we tried to decide what to do, the boys played hide and seek in the car lot and the ditch beside the road.

We finally got the car started, and it sputtered to the nearest hotel. Early next morning we were trying to get it started again and decide whether to try to return to Elgin or keep going to St. Charles, Mo. Another guest ready to leave the hotel helped...he actually knew a bit about car mechanics. We mostly stood around with the hood open and looked on in despair. He said it was the alternator, helped us find a mechanic shop open that would sell one and he put it in. Come to find out they lived in St. Charles and were headed to Chicago. For several years afterwards we exchanged Thanksgiving cards, but have since lost track of such nice people sent by God to be a blessing to us.

Then there were a couple of snowstorm Thanksgivings. When Rob was just a baby we were driving back to Chicago on Sunday. A huge snowstorm hit. We had to park for awhile. Then ran out of milk for the baby and nearly out of gas for the car. Nothing was open on that deserted stretch of Rt 55. Finally in desperation we pulled off into a small town. A restaurant was open, but had no milk. The lady went to her house and got some for us. Then she called the owner of the gas station alongside who came and let us fill up the car. (This WAS 35 years ago!!)

Another snowstorm, the boys were elementary school age. The snow was so bad, again we had to pull off. But this time we cut off the car for awhile so we wouldn't run out of gas. That time it was also terribly cold....waaaaay below zero. I remember reading later that several stranded motorists had died from the cold. We did have blankets in the trunk. So we wrapped up and huddled together in the car for awhile to let the snow clear a bit. God was merciful. The snow cleared and we made it through without further incident.

Another year, another adventure. May your Thanksgiving be filled with blessings. May you find adventure and blessing in those unexpected events. Look for God's hand in all things, even the apparent disasters. You will find that his blessing is there, just reach for it.

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