Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Joy-Filled Thanksgiving


I know this is a very late Thanksgiving post...but I'm just now catching my breath after A LOT of busyness around here. I came home from Thanksgiving with children eager to decorate, a paper to write, a final to take, as well as several projects for Christmas. Those are all done except for a bit more decorating to do...and a bit of shopping, decorating the tree, baking, wrapping...well, those won't take me long anyway.


So, I finally have time to reflect a bit. It's actually been a year of a lot of reflecting and questioning and praying and praising.
I've watched as so many close to me have struggled through trial after trial this year. It's been sobering at times, but I remember the great promises that come with trials, like this one:
"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-3



Joy is a byproduct of being thankful, I think. And even when it's impossible to be thankful for the trials we're in, we can be thankful for so many other things. So I'm truly finding all the things for which I'm sincerely thankful to God. My faith has been shaken, tested, and ultimately strengthened. And I have that long list of all the mercies and blessings bestowed on our family this year. God is amazing and so worthy of all of our THANKSGIVING!

One reason to be thankful is that my mother did all the cooking this year, bless her heart. She generously offered to host Thanksgiving with the purpose of giving my sister and I a break. It was so relaxing...and DELICIOUS! I haven't had my mom's Thanksgiving dinner in far too many years and it was wonderful! Thanks, Mom!

My sister Tracy and her family made the looong drive over to have Thanksgiving with us and it was so nice to see them. Here are (a lot) of pictures...I had to seize the rare opportunity and take as many pictures as I could. The sad thing is that we never know when we'll see each other again.

(below) We took a little hike in the Smokies. Here are the families minus me, Pat, and Matt. There aren't many pictures of Matt and Pat because they only came for Thanksgiving day. They both had class Tuesday night and Matt had to work the day after Thanksgiving

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The cousins

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I love this picture of my mom and dad.

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The kids love the cows behind my parent's house. We did go on the other side of the fence, but the cows weren't looking too friendly.

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Miyah

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Brielle

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Brock Ji Hao
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This is the sign welcoming us to our hike
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Don't worry Mei Lin, Miyah will protect you!

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My sister Tracy and her family
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My niece, Brittany

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My nephew, Brock
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My other nephew, Brant
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Brittany and Megan
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Sweet Cousins
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Miyah

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Brock's first Thanksgiving!
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Megan enjoying Thanksgiving dinner
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Mei Lin fell asleep right as Thanksgiving dinner was being served

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My dad is excited to get started!

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Megan and Brittany did crafts to occupy the little ones
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Mei Lin and Daddy
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Matt - not sure what he's doing.

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An after dinner game of Phase 10
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And and after dinner hike behind my parents' house for the rest of us. My parents have a beautiful view and property all around them.

My mom and dad
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Mei Lin
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Tracy and Max
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Hiking behind my parents' house
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My dad goofing around, as usual! I wish you could see my mom's face.
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Miss Brielle
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My Dad
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Piggyback ride for Brielle...and I love this picture because if you look in the distance, Papa is holding hands and walking with Brock Ji Hao.
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Whew! That's all. I hope you all have a joyous holiday season! I have some more posting to do...Christmas parties, gingerbread houses, tree decorating...but that'll have to be for another day.

2 incredible comments!:

Carla said...

Oh that looks like a GREAT Thanksgiving! and Hiking in the smokies? brings back so many childhood memories (and high school ones)

:)

Amber Stark said...

The pictures of Grandma and Papa are so cute! I love them! You take such fabulous pictures!