{countdown to thanks} frazzled family


We drive north to Nana Bears each Thanksgiving.

For 6 hours we travel back roads, through little towns with as few stops as possible.
Brothers get frustrated and the little Sister does her best to be happy.
Because we are a family...we get to experience
 great fun and great annoyance with each other.

Craziness ensues the moment we roll in the week of Thanksgiving 
setting up camp sites all over her tiny duplex.
Air mattress become beds and they race to claim their spot for the week.
After each one hugs Nana's neck tightly, the searching of  kitchen cabinets follows.

She sets up tables in the garage as homes for our piles of luggage
 but that's not the first thing we notice as the garage door goes up.
Years of artwork and letters are laminated and strung up all over the wall.
The turkey hand prints we made sitting at her table take us back 10 years.

As the week unfolds so do the memories of us 
crowded around her table and piled on the couch.
Our time is simple, yet tightly all together.

There is just something I love about the simplicity of Thanksgiving.
Most of us don't over stress with the hustle of decoration.
We don't worry over wish lists.
We simply get to celebrate around the table with 
those we love and sometimes those who are hard to love.

"Not only is eating one of the most
predictable and unchanging routines in our life, 
it also plays a role in our most significant moments."

The gatherings both small and large set the stage for the celebration.
It really is fun to welcome the family and give thanks.
Maybe behind the dreamy setting of your gathering
 is the reality of children running around 
like Indians leaving a mess 
of a trail behind them. 
Those trails quickly become the decoration.

It only takes seconds for the peaceful home 
that was tidied up with candles lit and pies in the oven to become a chaotic disaster.
 I have to say...peaceful and perfect 
doesn't necessarily make great memories. 

But its all a-ok because the eating and catching up with the family is the whole purpose. 
Be together. Take up little ones on your lap and squeeze them tightly. 
Look your kids square in the eye and listen.

Laughter and tears mixed with games and conversation is a recipe for simplicity.
If your hope is to pause and remember blessings and grace,
 then you need nothing more than people and their stories.

"Stories are just another one of Gods brilliant ideas
 to connect us to what really matters."  Reggie Joiner

Our family lives are frazzled. The calendar is over booked.
We feel as if we have lost consistent time together. 
Thanksgiving has a way of slowing the clock
 and taking back time we've missed out on.

This will be our 6th year of travel to be with Nana.
The road trip there will include home videos of holidays past.
 On the journey home, our van will be pumpin the Christmas jams.

Simple traditions that our kids will remember 
are much better than becoming a frazzled monster mom 
who cares more about how pretty our time looks than how 
it will be remembered.