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We are going to our oldest son’s for Thanksgiving dinner.  We will be joining our son’s family including this wife and two twin daughters now three and a half; his wife’s parents and their two adult children, a grandchild and her new husband and their young baby girl; our youngest son and his partner; along with my brother and his wife who live with us. 

Recently, we have been able to be together for many of the holidays and our son and his wife are the customary host and hostess.  When my mother was still with us, she would come too.  Soon Christmas will be here, and my husband’s mother is coming from Cincinnati and will be joining the group.  Last year, our son’s partner’s family came to DC from Syracuse for a holiday visit and we all were together in their home. 

When I think of the prospect of all of us coming together, I now know how it will usually go:  there will be a standard assortment of delicious food:  a great fresh fruit salad and home-baked pies coming from my daughter-in-law’s mother; a honey-baked ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and vegetables prepared by our son and his wife; we’ll bring the turkey and trimmings and often bring along some snack foods as well. 

The turkey is in the oven now and has been for more than two hours.  Soon the wonderful smell will fill our home.  Our son and his partner are bringing a corn dish, a filipino dish, and the hot rolls.  Something new, the filipino dish. 

Just last weekend we celebrated the wedding of our son’s niece and her husband and there was a reception at our son’s home.  So here they are just four days later having another large gathering. Lots of hard work and preparation.  

Such events are the extraordinary blessings of life.  Smiling faces.  Peace.   Prosperity enough to provide basic needs and security.  Kinship.  Kindness.  It has been seven years now that we have been coming together for these events.  Friendships have grown.  Pets have come and gone and share in the pleasures of these days.  Grandchildren, of course, bring peels of laughter and squeals of discomfort when a toy is misplaced or a nap is in order. 

I am thankful for this time in my life, for the sharing, for the regularity, for the work and effort given by each person so that we can come together.

May the Lord watch
and keep you and your loved ones
safe, warm, and happy
this holiday season
and always.

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 a thanksgiving proclamation

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; …I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for …the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, …and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand, at the city of New York, the 3d day of October, A.D. 1789.

 

 

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Joan of Arc

I know this now. Every man gives his life for what he believes. Every woman gives her life for what she believes. Sometimes people believe in little or nothing yet they give their lives to that little or nothing. One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. And then it is gone. But to sacrifice what you are and live without belief, that's more terrible than dying.--

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Beannacht

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets in to you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green,
and azure blue
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

John O'Donohue, Echoes of Memory

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