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Archive for November 2008

12th Day of Thanksgiving: We Gather Together

We gather together
to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens
His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing
now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His name,
He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us,
our God with us joining,
ordaining, maintaining
His kingdom divine;
so from the beginning
the fight we were winning;
thou, Lord, wast at our side,
all glory be thine!

Lyrics: Nederlandtsch Gedencklanck; trans. by Theodore Baker 
Music: 16th cent. Dutch melody; arr. by Edward Kremser (1838-1914)

11th Day of Thanksgiving: A Continual Feast

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day and the close of my 12 Days of Thanksgiving experiment.  I almost called it a “writing experiment,” but it has really been a “heart experiment”–one that has been very rewarding.  I’ve enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that comes with following through on a personal commitment.  I’ve enjoyed taking the effort, time and discipline to explore what Thanksgiving means.  I’ve enjoyed the simple act of posting to this blog every day.  I’ve enjoyed the anticipation of what I would learn.  And, I’ve enjoyed being thankful.

So, what have I learned?

I started with a prayer, first prayed six years ago when my heart was in a similar place.  Did God answer it?  Let’s see:

1.  I repent of a complaining and murmuring spirit, and ask God’s forgiveness for taking His character and blessings for granted.

A complaining and murmuring spirit cannot co-exist with a grateful heart.  It just doesn’t work that way.  In the act of obedience to give thanks “in everything,” even in difficult circumstances or with difficult relationships, I’ve seen God’s mercy anew.  I can see that the times when I thought God was only providing half way were really times when God had his merciful hand of protection around me, shielding me from the full consequences of bad decisions or bad attitudes.  God’s forgiveness is great, and His restoration is greater.

2.  I ask Him to open my eyes to His goodness that is evident in my life, His faithfulness, His love and mercy.

Over the past week or so, by focusing on Thanksgiving, I’ve realized that there are always things, people and situations to be thankful for.  We never really hit the wall on that one.  Just when we think we’ve reached our saturation point, or added the last item to “the list,” our eyes are opened to something new–if we are paying attention.  The unpopular reality is that despair and disappointment is optional.  A grateful heart can always provide us a way out, if we choose to re-focus our eyes to see it.  As I was reminded in reading Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving proclamation, even in the moments we are most insensitive to God’s hand, the magnitude of His blessing overwhelms us.  Thanksgiving is a continual feast, should we choose to partake. 

3.  I choose the thank Him for what He shows me.  I thank Him for His works.  I thank Him for His character.

It is my choice.  Thanksgiving requires a decision on my part.  It requires an effort, an action.  A “thank you.”  Those words, spoken from a re-focused heart are life-changing.  Submission to God and obedience to His commands to be thankful are freeing.  And, it clears my vision to be able to see God’s true character.  God has shown me again so much about His staying power.  In the 5th Day and the 8th Day’s meditations, in particular, God revealed again through His word just how much I have to be thankful for in knowing a God so great.

4.  I ask that this Thanksgiving season be a new turning point in my relationship with God.  Let me “enter Your courts this season.” 

Yes, my heart is saying, “let me enter.”  Thanksgiving has unlocked and swung open the gate revealing the true character of the Almighty.  Praise, motivated by a grateful heart, ushers me into His courts, the place where His character can reign in my life, and in all things.  Psalm 100 has proven true.  Through a season of shying away from God, I’ve come to a moment of drawing near.  And, I’m resting as the verse in James is fulfilled: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (james 4:8)

Thank you, God, for lessons taught and lessons learned today.  Thank you for your patience in teaching them again and again.  Thank you for the light of your presence in our lives.  Thank you for your unending love and mercy that protects, comforts and sustains us.  Bless you, sir.


10th Day of Thanksgiving: In Times of Trouble

Abraham Lincoln’s first proclamation of the national day of Thanksgiving was issued on October 3, 1863 during the midst of the Civil War.  Although other presidents had set aside similar days, Lincoln’s was the first that established the national holiday.  

It’s interesting to me that he was able to find a heart of gratitude and encourage it in the whole nation at such a devastating time in our history–a time when not even today’s political sparring can compare to the bitterness that existed between differing ideologies.  Just three months prior to the proclamation (to the day) the bloodiest battle in American history ended in the fields of Gettysburg, PA.  Lincoln firmly believed in the cause of unity and the freedom of all men, but it did not make him popular.  Even in the Union camp, he wasn’t a golden boy.  In fact, he was only a last minute addition to the podium when he gave his profound speech dedicating the battleground at Gettysburg as a National Cemetery–the follow-up speaker, no less.  Yet, despite criticism and the weight of the conflict, he was able to adopt a thankful spirit.  He obviously felt that being thankful was very important.  I have read that during his administration, he often declared days of thanksgiving for his staff.  The 1863 proclamation just extended this practice to the entire nation.

Although it seems paradoxical, sometimes the most perilous times are when we realize we have the most to be thankful for.  It’s when we have the most to lose that we realize how much we really have.  Troubled times reveal what is truly important.   When circumstances spin out of our control, we are keenly aware of our own helplessless.  When mistakes and missteps come so quickly, we are overwhelmed by our own inadequacies.  At these times in life, we can often more easily recognize the blessings in our lives that we had no hand in creating.  Maybe it gives me a sense of control, or maybe it just settles my spirit to think of something basic, but for me, when the big things seem to be in peril, I find comfort (and sanity) by looking at the small things–the simple blessings and joys that inspire gratitude.

When I read Lincoln’s proclamation, I noticed a few things he seemed to understand about thanksgiving, God and people:

1.  Learning to recognize bounty is important.

2.  We tend to forget the source of our blessings while we’re being blessed.

3.  We almost always have more to be thankful for than we realize.

4.  Blessings should soften our insensitive hearts.

5.  God is ever-watchful.

6.  Knowing Who to thank is important.

7.  God is merciful.

8.  Setting aside time for thanksgiving is important.

9.  Being thankful together has power.

10.  Thanksgiving is all-inclusive.  Everyone can participate.

11.  Thanksgiving is inevitably entwined with praise.

12.  God is higher than we are.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God…

They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens…”

~ Abraham Lincoln, October 3, 1863

9th Day of Thanksgiving: The List

Last Friday, Hub and I attended Little Drummer Boy’s Thanksgiving program at day care and enjoyed a selection of turkey songs, his turkey headdress, a little day-dreaming, a great deal of jumping, and ham and cheese sandwiches.  It was our first “program” complete with all the fun we expected in a 3-year-old’s performance.  They did great. Their teachers did GREAT, and we captured it all on film.  Little Drummer Boy has now added HIS “movie” to the favorite list and enjoys giggles from the audience at each showing.

As part of the decorations in the Fellowship Hall, the teachers for each class had hung posters with lists of what the children said they were thankful for.  As you can imagine, the lists included everything from frogs to Spider Man to cheetos.  My Little Drummer Boy was thankful for “Mommy and Daddy.”  Right back atcha, sweet one!  In the grand tradition of preschool “What I’m thankful for” lists, my observance of the 12 Days of Thanksgiving would not be complete without a list or two of my own.  This one includes the silly, the sweet and the soul-searching of my life.  I tried to split it out, so as not to muddy up the serious with the superficial, but you know, life’s little Thanksgiving pageant just isn’t like that.  So, here goes (in no particular order. actually, in the order I thought of them, which is not particular)…

3.  Little Drummer Boy, Squiggle & Baby Girl — I start with (3) in Squiggle Man’s tradition because to separate them would suggest a first and last, and I could never decide that.
4.  Hub — his knowledge of 80’s rap and all manner of toddler wrestling moves, his commitment to follow hard after God and to work hard despite disappointment
5.  My Family — their generosity, their love of traditions, their commitment to celebration, their pecan pie
6.  Laptops — daily Mac love
7.  WordPress — autosave, comment approval and spam catching widgets
8.  BlueHost — and it’s cheap hosting
9.  McDonald’s playland — chicken nuggets, family time and some “outside time” even on a rainy Sunday
10.  My Day Job — and the Queen who reigns there
11.  Cheesy Dogs & Tator Tots — my own little 30-minute meal, including the 50 stops to soothe tears, referee toy ownership, find pup-pup, start Dora, converse with Hub (rare!), bounce Baby Girl, move Buddy (the cat), find Noah and Jim (citizens of Little People land), fill juice cups, find pup-pup again, etc, etc.
12.  Ore Ida Steam N’ Mash Potatoes — Wow!  My favorite new product.  I can make homemade mashed potatoes (the rare food everyone loves) without peeling, chopping or boiling.
13.  Fallen leaves — and their crunch, the sound that immediately immerses me mentally and emotionally  in everything I love about Autumn
14.  The Internet — finding at least something about almost anything
15.  Simon & Garfunkel Pot Roast, Mashed Potatoes, Baby Limas & Corn Bread — delicious.  the meal that makes me feel like I’m cooking like a Mama
16.  Our House — the fun of making it our own, the joy of giving our kids a place they belong, the realization that even if we didn’t have it, we would still have everything
17.  God’s Word — truth, solace, encouragement, instruction, admonition, past, present, future
18.  Giggles — and their abundance
19.  Saturdays — the day we “get to spend the whole day together”
20.  The Question “Why?” — and the opportunities for conversation it brings, 537 times a day
21.  God’s Mercy — boundless redemption from mistakes and wayward steps
22.  A Baby in the House — her smiles and coos, the bonding of nursing her, watching her recognize her own hands, letting her fall asleep on my shoulder
23.  Boys — the every day learning curve of truck horns, animal roars, constant movement, drum beats, tall towers, and the dream of the men they will be
24.  The Quietness of 11 o’clock — the peace of seeing them all asleep with arms sprawled or knees pulled under, and a few moments to myself.  it’s worth the loss of sleep.
25.  Laying my Head on the Pillow — in the hope that I’ve given each moment it’s due, trusting God to prune, fertilize and water what’s been done

8th Day of Thanksgiving: Prayer of Thanksgiving

God our Father, God our Father
Once again, once again
We would like to thank You.  
We would like to thank You.
Amen.  Amen.

We thank You that You have even “taken thought”of us, You whose spoken thought brought the universe into existence.  (psalm 8:3-4)
We thank You for your weaving–intentional, skilled, creative– that has brought us to life, unique. (psalm 139:13)
We thank You for Your demonstration of love–though we are “helpless” to match it–“in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (romans 5:6,8)
We thank You for a place of belonging, the holy inclusion that we are “called children of God.” (1 john 3:1)
We thank You for the “shield” of your mercy through mistakes, and Your glory that “lifts our head” in repentance. (psalm 3:3) 
We thank You for redemption and Your generosity of forgiveness–a favor not doled out begrudgingly, but “lavished.” (ephesians 1:7-8)
We thank You for the distance between east and west and the vastness of your restoration from wrong. (psalm 103:12)
We thank You for your light, for even “darkness is not dark” to You.  (psalm 139:12)
We thank You for the wholeness of Your presence, where there is no partial, no wait and see, but the “fullness of joy” then and there. (psalm 16:11)
We thank You for your shadow shelter, our dwelling place in the mightiness of your refuge. (psalm 91:1-2)
We thank You for Your cultivation, the nurturing of faith and faithfulness as we “dwell in the land” to which you’ve brought us. (psalm 37:3)
We thank You for action, a trustworthy character that will “do it” at the right time, in the right way, to the complete fulfillment of our heart’s desire. (psalm 37:4-5)
We thank you for your nearness, bringing goodness and all things good. (psalm 73:28)
“We give thanks to Thee, O God, we give thanks, for Thy name is near.” (psalm 75:1)

We thank You for the binding of our hearts and lives together, as we are bound to you.  For in You, “all things hold together.” (colossians 1:17)
We give thanks “in everything,” for You are in all things.  So, we are safe. (1 thessalonians 5:17) 
We thank You for the incredible fact of your being.  Through the water and fire, You are “the Lord our God.” (isaiah 43:3)  You are.  Thank You.

7th Day of Thanksgiving: To God’s Ears

Dear God
Thank you for the sun.
Thank you for the sun shining down today (even though it was drizzling).
Please help [Squiggle] to obey his teachers today and have fun.
And, help you–help Mommy not to get lost at work today.
Thank you for everything.
And, thank you for the sun again.
In Jesus name, Amen.

~ Little Drummer Boy’s “good morning prayer” on a rainy day

I read something somewhere in college (I would love to be more specific, but I just can’t remember, it might be Richard Bach, but I’m not really sure) that we teach best what we most need to learn.  I’ve been trying to teach Little Drummer Boy about prayer by continuing a “good morning prayer” tradition I started with him as a baby.  He’s learning.  And, sure enough, so am I.

Our “good morning prayer” is a little driving-to-daycare tradition.  I think it started with Mommy’s worried and tearful concern at leaving my baby boy in the hands of someone else during those first few months.  The prayer was a way to keep my meltdowns at bay, attempting to entrust my son, my heart to God for his protection during the day.  The drive seemed a fitting time to pray–modeling it for my children, starting the day on the right foot, and following the Bible’s prescription for worry.  I’ve contintued the habit off and on for the last three years with breaks during the forgetful “baby brain” moments of pregnancy and the rotations when Hub took over day care duty.  I began anew when Maggie started to “school.”

I usually pray for the same things every morning with small variations to meet each new day:
Thank you for today.
Thank You for the sunshine and the beautiful day You have made (when weather permits).
Bless Little Drummer Boy, Squiggle and Baby Girl with peaceful spirits and joyful hearts.
Help Little Drummer Boy and Squiggle to be kind to their friends and obey their teachers.
Help Baby Girl to eat well and sleep well.
Protect them and keep them safe all day long.
Bless Mommy and Daddy in their work.
Bring us together again for a good evening.
Thank you that you love us.

With this round of the renewed tradition, Little Drummer Boy has decided to take a more active role.  He’s been wanting to say our “blessing” at supper time, so one morning I asked him if he would like to help with the good morning prayer also.  He started by saying it with me for a few days and graduated to the prayer above on the first day he decided he wanted to say it ALL by himself.  The prayer was his own take on what I pray every day–part repitition, part trying to copy Mommy, part pride in doing something new, part gaining approval, and part heartspeak to God’s ears.  This week I’ve noticed some unprompted variations that speak to his own concerns.

Thank you for everything you made.
I pray that I can go outside today.
I pray that I will not have to go in time-out today.

After our “good morning prayer” I always remind Little Drummer Boy that he just talked to God, and we’ve been discussing how God hears us when we talk to him.  LBD usually says, “yes, and then God says, ‘I am listening to you.'”  I’m not sure where that came from, but I’m thankful that he’s learning to speak to God.  I’m thankful that God is reminding ME of simple, but powerful truths through Little Drummer Boy’s simple prayers.  I’m thankful that the God of all creation IS listening–even to the fledgling prayer from a little heart just awakening to who He is.

“I love the Lord because He hears my voice.” (psalm 116:1)

6th Day of Thanksgiving: Two Years with Bug

My little Squiggle Man is two years old today!  He doubled my joy on that Tuesday before Thanksgiving in 2006, a joy that continues to grow every day.  His birth made one of my most memorable Thanksgiving holidays.  When I went to the doctor on the Friday before, he decided that we would induce labor on Tuesday, November 21.  We had already determined that Squiggle would be the namesake of both of my grandfathers.  It wasn’t until I got home from the doctor’s office that the date sunk in.  He would be born on November 21, my Grandaddy’s birthday.  We knew, then, his name was well-chosen.  By 10am, I had him in my arms.  After two nights in the hospital, we brought him home–on Thanksgiving Day.

I remember that day as one of the most peaceful and joyful holidays I’ve experienced.  It was sunny and crisp, but not too cold.  A beautiful Autumn day.  We hardly knew it was a holiday, but we had much to be thankful for.  I was so glad to see and touch him on the outside and to be relieved from the pressure of having his 8 lbs 15 oz taking over my belly.  We got home just after lunch with big brother Little Drummer Boy all dressed up and proud of his new playmate.  I remember just wanting to soak them both up.  My nights at Oktibbeha County Hospital with Hub bunking in had been the only nights we’d spent away from Drummer Boy since he was born.  I was so happy to have them both home in our house–safe, healthy and in hugging distance.

It took us until the early afternoon to get home, get settled in and realize we were hungry.  Starkville is a university town, and the Saturday after Thanksgiving every other year brings in fans for the State/Ole Miss football game.  We’d never been in town for Thanksgiving, but we hoped the extra visitors for the upcoming game meant the standard take-out options would be open despite the holiday.  We called around and found out Ruby Tuesdays was one of the few restaurants available and placed our order.  There, around the table with a high-chair and a basinette, we enjoyed Thanksgiving lunch from black styrofoam take-out boxes–loaded fries, the sustenance of gratitude.

We had our traditional Thanksgiving meal on Saturday with a few sleepless newborn nights under our belt.  We cooked it and ate it at my house.  Although we spread the table with the same dishes cooked from the same recipes, it was another first.  Every year before and since, the menu has been reserved for Grandmother’s house, MeMa’s house or Mama’s house.  Still, it was a precious change filled with the comfort and joy of being in the first place your children belong.

The blessing of getting to know Squiggle is just two years in the making now.  We are basking in joy that pops in and out, sitting just beneath the surface of the frustration inherent in parenting a toddler through those first tough lessons.  As with Little Drummer Boy (and I’m sure Baby Girl to follow), we are sometimes heavy with the realization that so much of who he is becoming is who we are, and who we are training him to be.

Squiggle is intensly resolved.  Some might call it strong-willed, that character trait we so often admire in adults, but chide in toddlers.  Even in the womb he was resolved.  He would straighten both his legs out to push against the constraints–one foot on each side under my ribs.  It took more than a few pokes and pushing back on his heels to get him to move, releasing my lungs to take a deep breath.  He came out of the womb determined to make his own way.  Even as an infant, he would never simply rest his head on my shoulder like his brother did.  He would always push back to take in his surroundings.  Only now does his loving spirit sometimes give in and allow me that fleeting luxury at bedtime.  Squiggle is passionate about everything.  He does everything and feels everything at 110%, fully giving himself to it.  He is the most fun-loving of my children, the most willing to test his wings with abandon.  This trait has prompted more than one person to tell me, “he will be the one to watch.”  He learned to smile very quickly, and practices often, along with his trademark squeal-fueled giggle and the universal animal roar he has made his own.  His eyes often reveal the twinkle of joyful mischief within, and he is the one most likely to fling himself into your arms–for two seconds before moving on to the next passion.

I love this picture from our first photo shoot.  He’s wearing the same white outfit each of my children have worn home from the hospital, and a baby blue sweater–the perks of being born in November.  I see an earnest expression, brow almost furrowed in thought. I still see that today sometimes when he is trying to make sense of his little world–resolving his passion for whatever is before him with the joy of life his heart seems to exude.  He will be a spectacular man.

God, please help us to get him there with his vibrant spirit unfettered.

5th Day of Thanksgiving: Haley Hears a Who

I’m realizing that the Who in Thanksgiving makes all the difference. I’ve been thinking through lists of things I’m thankful for, which I’m sure I’ll share as the days move toward Turkey Day.  I’ve been eager to cultivate a grateful heart for the little and big things in my life that produce joy, peace and blessing.  But, I have to admit that I’m finding it a little empty.  Yes, recognizing those people and things is rewarding, and the experiences with them are good to savor.  But, people and things come and go.  Thanksgiving really gains its power when it pushes me to recognize and praise the WHO responsible for my blessings large and small.  Like faith, thankfulness is at its most potent when it has an object.  

One of Little Drummer Boy’s favorite bedtime story books is his Rhyme Bible (which I highly recommend.)  It includes a story about how God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and gave him a son.  Our favorite part is the last page, where “Abraham jumped for joy, when he saw his baby boy.”  At this point, LDB always asks, “why did he lose his shoes?” The illustration literally depicts how Abraham must have felt when God’s gift truly knocked his socks (and shoes) off.  When I look back at the actual promise God made to Abraham years before his son was born, I’m reminded of His purpose in blessing Abraham.

“And I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing.” (genesis 12:2)

Blessed to be a blessing–that was God’s promise.  If adopting a life of gratitude is to have a true impact on me in the day to day realities, being thankful is just the seed.  To become a blessing is the fruition.  Knowing the Who who made it possible enables the cultivation in between.  With all blessings of peace, joy, grace, mercy and love–those most-sought-after and precious gifts–we can only give out of our own overflow.  And, my ability to bless others begins with a commitment to bless the Lord first.  So, who is this Who drawing my eyes upward in thanksgiving?  We know Him by His actions:

He pardons…  bringing the sweet restoration of forgiveness, the freedom of a clean slate in a world that takes names

He heals… applying the gentle balm of repair, the relief of wholeness in a world with open wounds

He redeems… repurchasing the squandered wealth of life, the hope of second chances in a world built on “all sales final”

He crowns… bestowing the undeserved protection of mercy, the birthright of belonging in a world of refugees

He satisfies… enabling the simple generosity of contentment, the joy of open hands in a world with a white knuckle grip

Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits;
Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
Who satisfies your years with good things, So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.

(psalm 103:1-5)

With all that is within me, indeed.  May I freely bless as He blesses?

4th Day of Thanksgiving: Nacho Love

Yep, over a handful of Doritoes the other day, I started recording my thoughts pen to napkin with cheese dust and all. They inspired me to seize the moment and go low-tech–although I prefer to think of it as grass-roots thought processing.  I was having some homemade “nachos” and thinking about how good they were.

When it comes to what inspires a grateful heart, sometimes we forget about the little things and the simple pleasures they bring.  For a few moments on Monday, squished in between pumping for breast milk, zooming across town to work and the umpteen details flying through my brain, I was very thankful for nacho cheese Doritoes–their yummy crunch and the orange cheese dust they leave on your fingers.  They brought a momentary jolt of “Mmmm” to the morning and a yummy contentment.  It’s amazing the delight a simple lunch can bring when, just for today, you throw food groups to the wind and settle on something you might have chosen as a pre-teen. With no husband or children’s nutritional health to consider, I indulged myself in Doritoes, cheese and bacon bits for 15 minutes of no dietary accountability.  It got me thinking about some of the other “brands” we buy that provide similar simple pleasures–the names that routinely up our level of contentment.  Most aren’t necessities.  But, I appreciate the “extra” they add to my life.  Here’s my “thanks” list:

1.  Doritoes:  My favorite go-to snack is a pan full of the cheese clad triangles with grated sharp cheddar and bacon bits on top.  I broil them for a few seconds, and my taste buds sing with crunchy gratitude.

2.  Huggies:  I know it’s not “green,” and I realize that my family has it’s own personalized plot at the land fill.  Nevertheles, I’m thankful for these life-saver diapers and pull-ups that make the daily “tee tee” and “doo doo” of life a little more bearable.

3.  Apple:  My parents gave me a Mac iBook in April and it’s amazing how much unexpected convenience and fun it’s provided–like this blog, a way to do my day job when kids are home sick, and an organized address book.  Life’s little plus signs.

4.  Hersheys:  Need I say more?

5.  Lipton:  Their family size decaf tea bags gave me my much needed sweet tea fix during pregnancy and now while I’m breastfeeding Baby Girl.  Key word = Decaf.  Three tea bags, four scoops of sugar and one gallon jug of water.  Ahhh!

6.  Vietri:  This company makes the “everyday” china we got when we married–Cucina Fresca in “saffron and sage” and the creamy Fiori de Bosci “Italian earthenware” patterns.  The combo works well together and I like the variety.  I have almost a full 12 place settings combined.  And, yes, my toddlers use them.  Little Drummer Boy prefers green.

Cucina Fresca   

7.  Fisher Price: Thank you for hours of imaginative play and made up story lines with Little People Farm, Little People Noah’s Ark, Little People Airplane, Little People First Thanksgiving, Little People Nativity, Little People Garage, Little People Dump Truck…  Shall I go on?

8.  Hallmark:  In addition to the great musical cards my kids love, the Peanuts valentines and the great holiday ho-ho trims, I am especially excited this year because my entry into the myHoliday Product Red card contest was selected as a top 20 finalist!  I’m thankful for much-needed prize bucks, and the ego boost of seeing my design in print with the Hallmark logo!  Go here to vote for a winner and buy cards.

9.  Sesame Workshop:  I am in awe of the talents of Kevin Clash and his ability to entertain the 39-year-old, 36-year-old, 3 1/2-year-old and 2-year-old in our house with falsetto and a goldfish.  The 2-month-old has even started to get interested.  I’m thankful for all things Elmo (or ‘Mo as Squiggle calls him)!

10.  Crayola:  “Washable” sums it up for us.  Their easy-to-clean crayons, markers and paint have helped produce some of the masterpieces that grace our walls.  They come off counter-tops and t-shirts.  Even Little Drummer Boy’s favorite red.  An added bonus for Squiggle is that they come in a box he can load and unload repeatedly.

11.  Dreft:  Gentle and unscented for baby’s protection, this stuff packs a punch in the washing machine.  It’s great at cleaning spit-up, throw-up, mud and red marker (see #10).  I’m thankful that it gives me the freedom to say, “it’s ok, we can wash it.”  

12.  Adobe:  Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Freehand–these are tools of my trade.  I’m thankful for “text-flow,” “paste-inside,” “flip horizontal,” and “check links sitewide.”  And, I’m thankful that “undo” daily removes the fear of experimentation and makes mistakes easy to erase.  If only the rest of life carried such a function!

3rd Day of Thanksgiving: Bright of my Life

On this, the third day in my recognition of Thanksgiving joy, I’m taking a cue from my Squiggle Man and starting with THREE.  In my life list of things I’m thankful for, THREE top the list.  Here they are in portraits by their own hands (thank you Fisher Price.)  The brightness of the photos is tangible evidence of the almost painful extent to which they brighten my life–a glow so brilliant I can’t turn my glistening eyes for fear I might lose the blinding joy of the gifts within.

Self-portrait in angel-glow by Little Drummer Boy.

Self-portrait in angel-glow with Poppy by Squiggle.

Baby Girl at breakfast with spot of angel-glow by Little Drummer Boy.

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