I have a confession to make. I butcher turkeys. No, not in the conventional knife wielding, life-ending massacre for the Thanksgiving genus and bird species. I’m talking burned to a crisp or undercooked with jelly-like movement. I admit to trashing a charred bird or two and resorting to microwaving the gelatinous one. It’s become a bit of story among my friends, many of whom have well-worn aprons that speak to years of tasty, traditional family meals. It’s with relief then that most every Thanksgiving is spent with my husband’s family in Mississippi, where the Lazy Susan spins like a twist-n-turn despite the weight from overflowing casserole dishes filled with Coke salad, sweet potatoes, and our niece Melinda’s asparagus casserole, just for me! And without fail, my mother- in -love cooks a turkey. I have watched through my 23 Stewart Thanksgivings as the actual turkey presentation has shifted to stronger arms, but never diminishing the strength of her love.
Each year we tell what we’re thankful for. This is always so difficult for me because as eloquent as I am, I find myself at a loss for words. They seem to stick to my tongue. This year is no exception but with my mother-in-love’s diagnosis of stage 4 pancreatic cancer, I know that without a miracle, it will be her last Thanksgiving. Cancer has slammed into my family for many years now, like a railroad crossing without any signal. We venture out and unsuspecting, we collide and life is never the same.
So this Thanksgiving in honor of the 399th celebration of the first Thanksgiving, I borrow the words from the beginning of a letter from Edward Winslow.
” And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
I think these words sum up for me what 2020 has brought. I may not have what I had in the past but the goodness of God satisfies my soul. I’ve learned to shelter in place physically and build a shelter for my soul.
I am thankful for 2020. Without it, I may have continued on an exhaustive course of 10 hour work days and endless drive to touch the hurting and missed even more of my time with my husband and daughters. My body was breaking down and I needed rest. 2020 taught me to how to transform my pain to praises and grow my faith.
I am of course, thankful for my husband, Royal who gets me. I live in my heart and my head a lot — like when I wander off in the store and equally as lost in my thought life. He doesn’t question when I show up ten minutes later with decorative cupcake wrappers but simply asks if I found what I needed and doesn’t ask when I put it back, because I don’t bake either.
I am thankful for my daughters, Grace and Annelise who are the best things that I’ve contributed to this world and with their open embrace of our grand adventures makes life fun.
I am thankful for Momma Rosie and Leo who listen to my endless stories and musings. They are the backbone to Compassion That Compels with Momma Rosie’s prayers and hands of grace packing every Compassion Bag.
I am thankful for life-speaking friends who hold my hands and heart, and have such tender regard to my spirit. I love you all. I don’t say it often enough.
I am thankful for Pixie, my rescue puppy who really rescued me.
I am thankful to Altar’d State for without them, there wouldn’t be the outreach that we have.
I am thankful for the prayers and generosity of the many donors and corporate sponsors who heard our hearts and joined us on this journey.
I am thankful for my surgeon, Dr. Sullivan and the Breast Center team who believed in me to financially support the In Her Lane podcast.
I am thankful for my surgeons at Southern Orthopedics whose skilled surgeons repaired my back and hip and grateful that I don’t have a limp.
I am thankful for every person who has so graciously loved on me at my yoga studio, Bayou Yoga.
I am thankful for everyone who has joined alongside me at Compassion That Compels to serve.
I am forever thankful to Jesus for bringing over 9500 BEAUTIFUL and brave women into my life when all I wanted to do was launch my Bible study and ministry but all God wanted me to do was be obedient. He always has the better plan and this Thanksgiving, I have the largest, small group now followed by the most amazing people I could ever hope to add to my heart’s collection.
And I close this blog as Eddie Winslow (feel like I can call him that now) did in his letter to his dear friend,
“hoping to see you by the next return, so I take my leave, commending you to the Lord for a safe conduct unto us. Resting in Him”
Agape & Hugs,
Psalm 106:1 Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.