Last evening Mr. Farmer and I attended our church’s small group. 14 people gathered in our dear friends’ home for food, fellowship and learning God’s word. This by-monthly event enriches our lives. We look forward to each and every gathering. To be able to talk freely about our convictions and freedoms as Christians is like a breath of fresh air given the literal atmosphere in our nation over the past few months. Our brothers and sisters in Christ gathering around the circle with open bibles on laps, mulling over the extravagant attributes of God is an absolute treasure to behold. And we learn “to glorify God” is our calling……in our work and in our play; in our conversations and in our thoughts; in our homes and in our communities. Yes, this is our calling.
Colossians 3:23, 24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks to God.”
And when our time of fellowship came to the end last evening, we talked over some details of our next meeting time, along with some extra events thrown in——–Christmas events!!
This morning, as I sat at the breakfast table with planner and pen, sipping away at my “best part of waking up is Folgers in my cup” cup of coffee, I began plugging in the Christmas dates talked over from last evening’s session. As I opened the calendar I counted pages til Thanksgiving. YIKES! I thought! I’d better get a move on!
Oh………..Thanksgiving. How I love this holiday!
I am blessed with the responsibility of hosting our family this time around. Mr. Farmer, Jen and I get pretty excited envisioning exactly what this entails…………smells of the holiday season——-turkey, dressing, yeast rolls all cooking at the same time……..laced with the aroma of sweet spices from pumpkin pies and hot apple cider anticipating our dessert time; our family gathering round the table, everyone wishing and waiting to be heard as to what they are thankful for, way down deep in their hearts. (Kinda embarrassing to some, but yet a must to pronounce!) Everyone dressed up just a bit…a fancy sweater, nice plaid shirt and girls in our gingham aprons with perhaps a string of pearls. And the music…. the beautiful music softly playing in the background reminding us of the first hymns sung in new homes, in a new land, giving thanks. How the music sets the mood for this heart-melting day. I cherish these moments. How I treasure them. The toothless grins with high giggles; the “rowdy little boys” with football and transformers in their dirty hands and leaves on their shoes sharing what just happened in the backyard with our new beloved golden named Maggie. Yes, our 6 month old puppy. Almost the entire family has been smitten by that beautiful canine friend. Another pronouncement, I’m sure of what to be thankful for.
So……….I’m a list maker and I try to be a list crosser-offer, if I haven’t lost the list, or the planner, or the phone. Get the picture? My intentions are good but I find myself trying to juggle several things at once and I continuously get myself into another fix. I’m in my 60’s now. Been trying to change this “non-attribute” about myself for eons . About to give up on this game-changer. 🙂
Years ago, our family hosted my entire family for several Thanksgivings in a row, All totaled there were 26 members. They came on Wednesday eve of Thanksgiving and stayed til Sunday. Some stayed with relatives on the other side as two of my brothers married fairly local girls. That said, there were many people gathered, many meals and much entertainment. We all LOVED it!! Got a little hairy at times, but oh the memories we made. In order for these long Thanksgiving weekends to succeed, planning and executing the daily plan was essential! I took to my bookcase and found my friend, Emily Barnes. One is entitled, “The Complete Holiday Organizer), The Busy Woman’s Guide to Holiday Planning.” She has written several books on her specialty of planning and organizing. I highly recommend her books as she has saved me many hours of stress! I’d pull out a few other organization books, as well. Following are but a few tips I learned of tasks to do in advance so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed the last couple of days.
*A thorough cleaning a week or two before the holiday is a must. Yes, some of the windows, too.
*Refrigerator–clean and clear out.
*Oven. Trust me, everyone looks in the oven to see what’s cookin’. 🙂
*And the garage.
*And patio furniture wiped off and ready for backyard company.
*And a quick wipe down of the car or truck with a fresh wash.
*Polishing the silver.
*Getting out all serving dishes, pots and pans needed according to size.
*Get the deep cleaning of guest rooms and bathrooms done a week or two in advance. Make beds, if possible at this time.
*Pull matching sheets out ahead of time so they will be ready to go when the time is right. Ask a family member in advance to help with the changing of sheets. The task is easier and anticipating the guests together brings joy.
*Pull towel sets, reading material, music with CD player, water bottles, small fans (if needed) for each room. Chocolate kisses are always a plus and nice surprise. 🙂
*Order the table centerpieces and candles, or plan what they will be and get out the appropriate items.
*Iron tablecloths and linens.
*Wash down tables and chairs. Polish if needed
*Make place cards. This actually eases the tension of guests when they know where they are supposed to sit and who they will be seated by.
*Make the menus
*Start delegating food dishes to some of the nearby family guests. Let everyone participate.
*Shop for all items except for the fresh produce.
*Shop early in the morning and early on, so that all ingredients can still be purchased!!
*Make a list of favorite games to play and include a few new games
*Read over game directions so playtime won’t be frustrating
*Make a playlist of favorite music, or pull CD’s
*Make sure plenty of paper products are on hand, to lighten the load for clean-up time.
*Check local paper to view what’s going on over the holiday weekend
*Make a list of favorite games and activities where the entire family can join in, i.e. Charades, Hide the Thimble; Gestures–group fun.
*Pump up all the balls. Gather and organize all outdoor items.
* Bonfire items ready. It’s usually a must around here.
*Delegate: Ask family members to bring game or idea of group activity
Hopefully these ideas will strike a chord with you and help you prepare for the upcoming holiday. Thanksgiving is typically a long weekend for many loved ones to gather. Being prepared makes the family time so much more enjoyable for the hosts and guests alike.
Let’s get movin’!
Anticipation is a large part of the fun! I’m smiling already!!