As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Thanksgiving 2023

This Thanksgiving, we had every one of our children and grandchildren around our table!  (A mama's heart is happy when all of her chicks are in the nest, right mamas?) One little boy woke up sick, the turkey wasn't ready at the appointed time, and we all missed Gampy, but the day was also full of gratitude and joyful hearts and music and tradition and family togetherness. We are blessed! 

The table was set for twenty-five this year. 

Most years, I have planned my tables weeks (or even months) in advance. But this year has been full of heartache, changes, struggle, and busyness. I purchased these downloadable place cards on Etsy a few days before Thanksgiving and I planned our place settings and table decor on Wednesday evening. Yikes! The "plus" side was that I had many helpers . . . formatting the place cards, setting up tables, laying out flatware, folding napkins, and assigning seats. 

On Thanksgiving morning, I had snuggle time with the three youngest grandgirls. 

As I said, everyone was here for Thanksgiving this year, so I made sure to get photos of each family. 

Kristin's family:
Gavin, Alaine, Ben, Owen, Maddie
Macie, Brian, Kristin, Judah

Ryan's family:
Eve, Peter, Ryan, Sarah, Nora
Joanna, Katrina, Paul

Kati's family:
Ellie, Andrew, Kati, Caleb

Ron and I with Rebekah

Gammy (my mom) with Joanna

While we waited for the turkey to finish roasting, we wrote blessings on our leaves for the Thankful Tree

We also had some beautiful music played by daughter Bekah on piano and granddaughter Eve on violin. 

Conversation overheard . . . 

Gammy: Awww, there's a photo op! You two look so cute there at the window! 
Ryan: We're vultures, not J. Crew. 


When the feast was ready, we gathered around the long table and sang a "hymn of grateful praise." 

You may remember that we have "servers" each year for our Thanksgiving meal. It eliminates a long buffet line or having all of the food on the table which is already pretty full. This year's 
servers were the lovely Maddie, Kristin, Eve, and Bekah. 

I love all of these faces!

You can't see all five pies in this photo. That is a lot of slices per capita! 

For the joy of human love, 
Brother, sister, parent, child,
Friends on earth and friends above,
For each gentle thought and mild.

Lord of all, to Thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise! 

a death, there are many "firsts" without that person. This was our first holiday without my dad. These months have been a blur, and I sometimes wonder if it has all totally sunk in to me. But I keep putting one foot in front of the other because there is so just much to do, and I know that my mom is feeling that same thing. 

And yet, even with all of the changes and the grief, it is good to pause and be grateful for all of God's gifts and to praise Him for all that He has done! 

           Bless the Lord, O my soul;
                And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
                Bless the LORD, O my soul, 
                And forget not all His benefits:
                Who forgives all your iniquities, 
                Who heals all your diseases,
                Who redeems your life from destruction, 
                Who crowns you with lovingkindess and tender mercies, 
                Who satisfies your mouth with good things, 
                So that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

Psalm 103:1-5 


  1. Hello, My name is Amelia. We have four daughters and our youngest here at home is named Rebecca, her screen name is Grace on my blog. : ) Your family is so beautiful, I too hosted our family and so enjoyed it like you do. Your love for your family is so evident. : )

    I'm so sorry about your daddy, I truly understand how it feels, the pain we go through. I miss mine so, so much and also miss my beloved step-daddy. Life is very hard sometimes I so understand. My mom is now 93.

    I thought I would stop by, I saw your blog on Mrs. White's blog roll.

    Blessings to you! ~Amelia

    1. Amelia, I thank you so much for stopping by and introducing yourself, and for your kind words of understanding! I feel like you're a kindred spirit! I will definitely be coming over to visit your blog . . .

  2. What a lovely occasion, and to have the entire family there must have been wonderful. Grief goes at its own pace, and I learn that you can only face one day at a time. It will get easier.

    1. It really was a wonderful gift to have all of the family here, Barbara! Of all years, this was one in which it was especially good to have them all. Life-giving. Thank you for your wise advice to take one day at a time. It's so easy to get ahead of oneself, but one day at a time is enough.

  3. Dearest Cheryl, your dear family gatherings warm my heart. Having all of your "chicks" in the nest is a beautiful thing, my friend. The music is simply beautiful. Such great musicians you have in your family, in song and in instruments. Well done Eve and Bekah! Your table is always lovely and this year is no different though you have been through much heartache. Now, I'm looking at how everyone has grown so much over the year!

    1. Martha Ellen, thank you so much! I am blessed to have such a friend who enjoys our family gatherings from afar! I'm so glad you enjoyed the music too. It is one of the joys of my life to hear my children and grandchildren play and sing.

      When I read what you said about how much everyone has grown, it dawned on me that I had not shared very much about the family this year. When you don't see children for a year, there is much change! No wonder you are noticing a difference!

  4. Oh what a beautiful gathering Cheryl. The music touched my heart and I can feel the sorrow in your words. Huge hugs to you all as you navigate this loss and all the firsts (and seconds and thirds ...)! So glad you could all be together. One day at a time dear friend. God is good.

    1. Thanks so much, Rosella! Oh, I know that you are right about those "seconds" and "thirds." Grief has no predictable timetable. It is an ebb and flow, isn't it? The "special" days can be hard . . . and so can the ordinary days.

      One day at a time is such wise advice. I have heard that from several dear and trusted friends. It is not a platitude, but real wisdom. And yes, indeed, our God is good. Always!

  5. What a wonderful post.
    You have a beautiful family.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Great-Granny!

  6. Bless the Lord. So much to be thankful for. Loved seeing each family unit. Smiling that you and your daughters were all barefoot in that photo. Fun to see how much Kati's children have grown. Your table setting looks like it was planned for weeks and not days. You are a natural! Sorry for the sorrow so fresh on everyone's hearts and minds. May God continue his perfect work in all your lives.

    1. Oh yes! So much to be thankful for! He has given so bountifully!

      Thank you for enjoying our family photos, our bare feet :), and our growing grandbabies! Thank you for sorrowing with us. And thank you for the blessing in your last sentence!

  7. It is so good to see this post, Cheryl. I can't believe how the children are growing. Your family is beautiful, and what a blessing to have them all together for Thanksgiving. And how wonderful to have music and voices lifted in song right there in your home. ๐Ÿงก I know you miss your father. Your family honors him with your testament to family bonds, and Godly love.

    1. We have been given so much by our Heavenly Father! It was such a good holiday. Life has been so different and so busy . . . I have hardly had time to grieve. The grief rises to the surface unexpectedly. I thank you for understanding and for your comforting words!

  8. What a beautiful gathering, Cheryl. Missing those we love is so very hard, and as Barbara said, just take it one day at a time. That long table stretching through to the next room reminded me so much of Christmases as a child at my grandparents' home. Your family is lovely.

    1. Thank you, Lorrie for your kind words about our family gathering! I am glad it brought back happy memories from your childhood!

      "One day at a time" is recurring advice . . . and such wise and helpful advice! It is so easy to rush ahead and be overwhelmed, but taking each day as it comes is much better. That also makes me think of the reminders by Elisabeth Elliot to "do the next thing."

  9. What a lovely Thanksgiving post. How nice that all of your family were together again. Such a good time singing with them also. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Melissa! We had such a great time with our family, and we are so thankful for the special gift of time spent together!

  10. What a wonderful Thanksgiving you had. While you have a large family, it is just Joe and me here. We always try to share our day with someone who would be alone otherwise. This year it was two of our friends.
    You have my sympathy over your dad's homegoing. I know only too well how that feels. I have experienced the death of four close friends in a three week time span. I stepped away from blogging also. Sometimes you just can't. I'm trying to come back now, but it's hard. Praying for you and your family, my dear friend.

    1. Kathy, your kind words mean so much! I am SO sorry for your loss of four friends in such a short time! Yes, it can be hard to find your voice again after loss and life changes. We just have to keep on walking and doing what we can, when we can, with the Lord's help. Praying for you too!

      I love that you share your Thanksgiving with others!

  11. Such Precious Gifts gathered round that table and in your home!! The splashes of joy amidst the sorrow <3 !!! ~tammy

    1. Tammy, you are so right . . . they are all precious gifts! God has been so gracious! Thanks for popping in. Hope you and yours are well!


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