Saturday, November 22, 2008

Baby Grands and Oreo Turkeys

One of my greatest joys at this season in my life, is the time I get to spend with the grands. My little gang of three keep me on my toes spiritually, physically and emotionally. Challenging me daily with a unique wit, wisdom and faith that is often found in members of the pint size set. They prove time and again that out of the mouths of babes God will be known and praised.

The fall and winter after my daughters death, a large part of me wanted to hunker down, stay indoors and hide from everyone in hopes that I could ignore the annual parade of holidays until it passed.

The one-two celebratory combo of Thanksgiving and Christmas held some of the sweetest and most cherished memories of times spent with my girl. Lauren was a self proclaimed homebody, who loved her family and revelled in all occasions that brought the family together.

I made the silly assumption that because we were so recently bereaved, no one would expect the usual Thanksgiving fair. Those who usually graced our tables would make other plans to spend their days in more joyful surroundings, with brighter spirited people.

I could not have been more wrong.

This family of mine barraged me with request for all their favorite dishes, I had parties inviting themselves to dinner as well as their latest love interest. We were to have a crowd.

What was wrong with these people?

Despite my intentions to sit out that inaugural year, my family had other ideas.

With help from my dear husband along with emails and phone calls from in laws and outlaws we assembled a menu, filled the cupboards and prepared for the pending celebration.

My family had high expectations and good intentions-committing to do everything they could to make this festival of thanks go smoothly and with little effort on my part. There were many promises of what would be done and how they would help, promises that ultimately were broken as most fell into their normal holiday habits that included watching lots of football, Christmas movies and naps by the fire.

But not the wee folk.

Seems my baby grand girls would have no part in my boycotting the holidays. My girls begged to know what we would be having and how they could help put on this party.

From decorating the house to baking pies my two K's hijacked every plan I made to sit the season out, instead setting a course for a holiday wrapped in true thanks.

At just over 2 1/2 years old, these two little sprites were formidable.

It was Thanksgiving by golly!

They knew what to expect if we were doing this holiday up right and they were tenacious enough to keep me from collapsing on my memories and shutting the whole thing down.

To that end, these two girls were on me all the time: my kitchen, my bedroom, my bathroom, my world. From early in the morning to late at night they seemed determined to miss nothing.

With my two little sous chefs and Paw Paw in tow, we went about preparing a Thanksgiving feast.

We measured, stirred, whipped and baked.

The girls wash dishes, shucked corn and deviled some eggs.

We read volume's of thanksgiving books, played lots of birdie in the nest

all when we weren't

swinging and sliding all over our backyard and everyone else's.

My crew painted, colored and had all manner of tea parties that effectively filled every

dark corner of our big ole house with waves of love, laughter and other reminders of how much we truly had cause to give thanks for.

Those two girls wore themselves out with it all...they were so determined to be thankful!

By the time we actually sat down for dinner that year my heart overflowed and I dared to mention the unmentionable...the empty chair....

As with many families we traditionally take time to share something we are grateful for before going to God in prayer.

I was first to take a turn.

I thanked my loved ones for putting out all the effort, changing their plans and pushing so hard to be there in a home that no one in their right mind would want to be in - the home of a dead girl and her grieving family.

What kind of fun could that be?

Where's a cause to celebrate and give thanks?

Yet they came, made me stay, face my loss and ultimately blessed me so. It was a bittersweet day of thanks.

What a family I have!

I am blessed and abundantly so!

This year, no one will be traveling over the river and through the woods to this Maw Maw's house. It is not our turn to prepare their feast.

Instead, we prepare for a party of five.

Baby grand and I have been busy creating menu's, writing grocery list and making decorations including place card holders made of Oreo turkeys all while anticipating the baking of our first pumpkin pie this season.

For this I am thankful.

My son and daughter in love are expecting again...a miracle in itself as Elizabeth has unique medical anomalies that have kept her from successfully carrying 3 other pregnancies to term, so we lift them up in prayer and praise God.

For this I am thankful.

Same precious daughter in love gave her heart to Christ earlier this year and has been waiting to be baptized here in Georgia. Lord willing, Elizabeth will take this next step of faith when the family comes to stay throughout Christmas and New Years.

For this I am so thankful.

Little Man K has been living with his Mama full time for almost 3 months now, they seem to be getting along well.

For this and so much more I am thankful and ever

Now it's your turn, please share.

How has God blessed you and what is your testimony of thanks?

This post is a part of the Thanksgiving feast at L.L. Barkat’s Seedlings in Stone. Join us at the table. When you do, drop a comment by L.L.’s blog to let her know. L.L. will link to you in the Thanksgiving Celebration post (and Christianity Today and High Calling Blogs will link back to said post, so their readers can check out the full celebration).


Melinda said...

Absolutely beautiful. I've found that it IS usually the young ones that insist on the continuance of living.

I'm thankful for that, indeed.

Off to start preparing the last of our Thanksgiving meal right now, as we're celebrating early this year. Every bed in my house is full, with the three people I love most in the world.

Again...thankful, indeed.

Love you Tammy,

L.L. Barkat said...

Tammy. Oh. Words cannot express. (Not so impressive from the mouth of a writer, huh?)

Really, I'm just silenced. Tears my companion. Humbled to sit at this your offering to the feast.

Blessings... and love...

twinkle said...

That is one of the sweetest posts I've ever read. My 23 year old nephew was killed in a single vehicle accident around Easter of '05. It is so hard moving on with an EMPTY CHAIR in the room. My sister (his mom) has two other daughters that she told me she has to live out her faith for. They must see her full of hope in spite of such deep sorrow.
Your memories are full of an unexpressible hope in the midst of deep sorrow. I feel that when I read about Lauren and the other issues in your family.
But God!
He brings us through, day by day, hour by hour, and sometimes, moment by moment.
My sister says...God is Good. And that is enough to keep believing Him for the future and the present.
Happy Thanksgiving.
May it be the most blessed one ever.

Lora said...

Dearest Tammy,
I am so blessed by the memories of my dear mother. Your post just blessed my heart. Thankfulness just abounds as I praise him for my dear husband and darlin' teens.

The Empty Chair
God knows,dear one, your loved one is not there
You've chosen the higher calling
When grieved and bawling
To in turn give thanks
Out of an overflowing heart, a gratitude bank
How the enemy wants us to be defeated
By focusing on the one who is not with us seated
Just when we feel like boycotting the holidays
Curling up with tissues and lying on the chaise
Because we face the empty chair
Dear One, He knows, He cares
Sweet Comforter and Friend
You sustain us when we see an end
Through the mouths of little babes You mend
A feasting table, or a party of five
Jesus, You reign, once in the grave, now fully alive!
A heart of gratitude before You we place
Because You know we each have an empty place
Make us more like little children that trust
When with grief and loss we are suddenly thrust
Praise God, every burden I have, You fully bear
Lord, I know You see the empty chair. Amen

Mary said...

Tammy -- what an incredible woman you are! You constantly amaze me with your strength and your grace. This post is so beautifully written -- I can just see this in a book one day.....

Let's talk soon.

GratefulinGA said...

Update: We're grabbing another leaf for the table and buying a bigger bird. We just heard from area loved ones who will grace our table after all. Looks like we'll be serving a party of 10!

my dear friend, i am jealous for you as i imagine the love and good times you will lavish on every guest in your full house.
such a Proverbs 31 woman you are!
sending you such a big hug today-love you girl!

thank you once more for sending me on this sentimental journey. You are a jewel! Once i convince my husband of that road trip back to the Strand, don't be surpised if i seek you out to engage in some good conversation and a warm beverage or two.

like you, i keep your sister and all of her family in my prayer. God is SOOO good and i wait with much antiscipation for the time when i will know how much good was achieved through these days and lives.
much love and hugs to you sweet Siesta!

thank you for the gift of your poetry dear girl. i am so grateful for discovering our St. Louis connection in San Antonio, you bless me so!

you are such an encouragement - thoughts of you make my heart smile. So you know darlin, any strength or grace you see is purely God's doing, without Him i am such a train wreck!

Anonymous said...

Wow...I have read your blog for a few months now but never sat and all about your daughter. Thanks for sharing. I wept. May God richly bless this holiday season for your family

Fran said...

I am so thankful to have found you, your heart, and your love for family and Jesus. I'm in a difficult time...not my family thank goodness...but in another huge area of my life and I'm clinging so close to Jesus and His Word over this situation. How on earth do we manage difficulty without Him? I wish I could come sit with you on Thanksgiving and let you know just how much you bless me.

Praying for you this week! May your heart be full of love,laughter, and Christ!!

Pat said...

All I can say is...Oh MY!! What a precious post and what a precious heart!
Bless you sister,