#1. I'm thankful to be here, right here for this day. We've been in S. Africa for over a week. I'm sittng on the porch midday in a tank top, barefoot. Roses bloom beside me; they are comforting, somehow, because I know their name, although I've never been a "roses" woman. The sky is blue, blue, the mountains are visible in the far distance, all of the kids and many of the adults are running around in bare feet, including my son who is counting down the days to the arrival of M. and the beginning of their life here, there, wherever, forever. It is enough to make me pause and consider the passing of the years.
#2. I'm thankful for each of my sons, you know who you are, each one of you. Some biological sons, some sons from other mothers who have one way or another become sons of my heart, sons for whom I pray regularly, sons becoming men of character and integrity. I'm very thankful Eldest Engineer is checking in with my parents regularly while I am away. I feel secure, knowing he'll contact me if something isn't right, and his kind heart will give them some extra time when I can't call. I'm grateful Youngest Mystery is in good hands, and is apparently having a good time, since I've only read one e-mail from him! Extra Eldest has been emailing with questions about who needs what for Christmas. Earlier this week it was a joy to be able to spend some time with and cook some extra food for Barefoot Wanderer's African Brother. There are other sons, gathered from God's hand, once boys, now mostly men, still in need of the one thing I can still give, my prayers. I thank God for each one of them.
"I tasted the pies," confesses one. I was visiting Barbara yesterday and some of it was burned and she was scraping it together, and she left me eat the rest."
They discuss the meat – "I've never tasted turkey, but it looks like a chicken."
"Yes but you put an apple in the mouth," another childish voice explains. Hmmm, I wonder. Isn't that a pig? No, he is sure it is in the turkey,and the apple is in the mouth. This could be an interesting evening!
I try to describe stuffing…filling…finishing, lamely, and you eat it with the turkey. Oh, she asks, you make it with cornbread? I've never tasted cornbread. (Well, my mom never made it with cornbread, but tonight's meal will have a Southern US flavor, since the head cook is from Arkansas.) Never tasted cornbread? Well, tonight's your night, I tell her.
#5, 6, and beyond. I'm thankful for the day we had yesterday, a day to be tourists from morning til night. We visited Pilanesberg National Park, thousands of acres of savannah and thorn thicket, mountains and stream beds, forests and plains. It was my dream to have the chance to "see wild things on four legs" while we were here, and yesterday that dream came true. God's creative touches and humorous bent are never more obvious than when viewing the varieties he designed. Warthog? Giraffe? Zebra? We saw it all, and lived to tell about it. I spent a day in a National Geographic special, surrounded by elephants, blue wildebeest, impala, and more. Much more...