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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and has been my whole life. I savor the season, the decorations and the pumpkin recipes. Most of all, I look forward to a time with our very large family gathering together to share our lives, laugh and worship. We come together every year in Austin and plan our Thanksgiving meal. Over the years we have developed traditions of each member specializing in a dish to share. I always make the sweet potatoes and now have a tradition of making a special sweet cream for coffee and homemade cranberry sauce. We all fall into a rhythm of cooking and talking and encouraging one another. My brother has taken over the homemade eggnog since my dad passed away. The traditions continue from one generation to the next. We had four generations represented this year! I practiced my mindfulness to be present and “in the moment” and allow this holiday come to its fulness. The yearly traditions bring security, value and joy into our family and leave a heritage of blessing and love.

Along with these traditions, I introduced something new this year. My daughter and I purchased a small tree with lights, paper, markers, and all kinds of creative tools. We called it our gratitude tree. Before the Thanksgiving meal, we all verbalized what we were thankful for and wrote it down on a paper and hung it on the tree. Each day following we wrote a gratitude and added them on the tree. Everyone who came by the house wrote a gratitude and clipped it to the tree. It was really fun and I noticed all of us reminding each other to “write our gratitude” today. Now, as we launch into the Christmas season, we are reminded of all our blessings and the sweet time of fellowship and thanksgiving we shared. We have new memories to cherish and a new tradition to celebrate! Whether old or new, tradition is a refreshing practice that yields a harvest into our family life.

Oh give thanks to the Lord of lords; for his lovingkindness endures forever. Psalm 136:3

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