What a Thanksgiving!

I baked all day Wednesday and accomplished everything on my list, except for the most important thing. The day started with a jolt when I realized that our beverage supply was depleted and we needed bread and milk, and I needed apples to make apple pie (Emma and Abby love those green apples), so Anna, Abby and I went to the store. Then we ate at Subway, using our coupons. Then we went home and Anna and I got busy with our pies. She made two pumpkin pies, and I made an apple pie. Fiona and Emma made the Chocolate Crinkle cookies. Garrett baked brownies. Katie and Kelsey made turkey cookies with the little ones. We even went to the YMCA that evening.

Then we set out to accomplish our most important goal of the day – picking up Daddy at the airport. Shawn went with me as usual, and this time we picked up another passenger. Emma wanted to go pick up Daddy. After all, she had drawn a map to help him find his way home.

So we headed south for Baltimore. Suddenly, as we crossed into Maryland, I had to go to the bathroom really bad. We were running a little late, so I thought I would have to wait until we got to the airport. We were humming along, making pretty good time when the phone rang, and Gary, with much furiosity and contempt for Continental Airlines told Shawn that his connecting flight took off without him. He was stuck in the airport in New Jersey with no way of getting to Baltimore that night. He told us to turn around and go back. I needed to find a place with a bathroom, so I kept driving until I found an exit with a McDonald’s. It was after 11:00 PM. We finally found one, and I was never so thankful for a McDonald’s in my life!

Gary called again and said that he was going to fly into Harrisburg the next day by 1:30 PM. I would have to drive north tomorrow in the middle of Thanksgiving Day and pick him up at the other airport. But I was fine with that. At least he would be home for Thanksgiving.

He had to sleep in the airport. Continental did not provide anything for him. They said it wasn’t their fault. Gary won’t be flying with them again.

So my plans got rearranged a little bit. I put the turkey in the oven when I got up like I had planned. I started making the dough for the dinner rolls. I made the Peanut Blossom cookies, peanut butter cookies with Hershey’s Kisses in the middle. I put Kelsey to work on the sweet potato casserole. We got the recipe from a picture book called Thelonius Turkey Lives.

I told her to start on the green beans after that. Katie was taking a shower, so I didn’t get a chance to tell her what to do. But I left my list on the counter.

Shawn and Anna and I went to pick Gary up, and I left the other kids watching a free NEST showing of William Bradford on my new laptop.

Kelsey was in charge until Katie got out of the shower.

We picked Gary up without a hitch – PTL. He had settled down and wasn’t so angry any more, but he still has no love for Continental.

We got home and Katie was busy with thawing the frozen Hawaiian Rolls. She started on the corn. Anna worked on the dishes. Katie made the Stove Top stuffing. I cut up potatoes for mashed potatoes. Kelsey formed the homemade rolls. I made my kind of stuffing. Anna cooked the asparagus. I cooked cream corn. Anna made gravy. I mashed the potatoes. I put the rolls in the oven. We were like a well-oiled machine, kind of. Katie kept finding bowls for everything and setting them on the table.

I went over to the table and saw that we didn’t have any room for plates, so we could sit there and eat! We took all of our centerpieces off the table and started setting out plates and silverware. Morgan had been guarding the food from the little ones, so he helped me set the table. Fiona helped set out the silverware.

We were just about ready when I heard Gary say something to one of the kids about going to start playing a game. I told him we were ready!

I put food on plates for Emma and Abby before the rest of us sat down to keep them occupied.

I had everyone say what they were thankful for. Some were silly, some were serious; nobody was very eloquent, everybody was hungry! Then Gary gave thanks for all that God has done for us. His prayer wasn’t very long, either. He was starving! Then he carved the turkey, and we all dug in.

We had our usual Peanuts music playing in the background.

Everybody ate until they were stuffed. Very few of us had room for dessert.

After dinner we watched The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. We had put it in for Emma and Abby to keep them occupied while the rest of us ate. We watched and reminisced about how we watched those with Shawn when he was little. He’s about to turn 21 in a little more than a month.

The boys put the leftovers away and cleaned the dishes.

I had the kids watch The Charlie Brown special about the Mayflower Voyage. We told Gary some of the new stuff we had learned about Squanto. Then the older kids played some X-Box with Gary. They refrained from playing it all day until then.

Then the day was over. A peaceful, relaxed holiday spent with the people we love most, rejoicing in spite of adversity and hardships (like spending the night on the cold floor of the airport – poor Gary), and remembering the goodness of the Lord.

Thanks for the memories! At this point, I’m thankful to have a memory!

Transportation Problem Solved!

No more of this for the Douglas family.

We finally got a van!

Gary will be driving it from South Carolina tomorrow. He and Patrick are coming to visit and leaving us the van. Then we’ll all be able to go visit them whenever we want to!

And we can go wherever else we want to. All together.

A Van-tastic Surprise

Every once in a while, we get some mail that is obviously heaven sent. Yesterday, in my mailbox, I found a bright, red envelope with cute stickers all over it and knew that it was from a kid. Three kids to be precise. They are the children of my friend and fellow homeschooler, Susan. I had no idea what my friend’s children might be sending us, so I anxiously waited for Shawn to finish reading our Bible portion so I could open it and share it with the kids.

I saw the picture on the front and admired Emily’s artistic talent. (She’s so good) I wondered what it meant: Is this getting ridiculous?. Then I opened it and saw what she wrote on the inside: At least, buy yourselves a wagon…

Then I realized the significance of the picture on the front. It was a picture of our whole family riding on an old-fashioned high wheeled bicycle (a penny-farthing). We were all hanging onto each other trying to travel together in a much too small vehicle.

As I was pondering the meaning a check fell out of the card. It was a check for $355!!! And they wrote in the memo: For your Van!

I couldn’t believe it! This was an unexpected blessing. We have been praying for a van for about 7 years. We used to have a van that was not really big enough for us, but we made it work. But it gave us all it had and then gave up the ghost about 4 years ago. Susan and her family started praying with us for a van then. Since then, all we have had is a car.

How can we do that? We just don’t go anywhere all together. If we all have to go, we have to rent another car.

That’s how we were able to move across four states. We rented a van.

But we have not wanted to get into debt. So we have prayed and waited. Well, we have some money for a pretty good downpayment, thanks to our tax refund, so we are actively looking for a van.

My friend’s children decided they wanted to be a part of this blessing, so they sent us their money. This is seed money, precious in the sight of God.

We aren’t “Rock Stars in the Christian world” or some big ministry with a big list of supporters, but God cares about us. He provides for us even though we are unknown and seemingly insignificant. He doesn’t judge us by our popularity or by the number of people who listen to us. He takes care of us because we love Him and trust Him, and we’re doing what He has called us to do. We are not high profile. We’re the “little ole me’s”. But He cares about us and does miraculous things for us, too.

So if you are a “little ole me”, be encouraged. He will do some awesome, amazing, surprising things for you, too. His blessings are not just for those favored people with big followings. They’re for us little people, too!

I think we in the family of God are supposed to act like family. And I think our Daddy is very proud of us when we do.

So, look up and expect awesome things from your Daddy. And then expect Him to talk to your brothers and sisters about you!

Miracles, Blessings and Grateful Hearts

We are in a beautiful house in Pennsylvania.

This subdivision has more room than our old one, but we’re still believing for land of our own.

God took care of us. He answered our prayers in the nick of time and used a miracle or two to do it.

Our beautiful grand house that God provided
Our grand stairway
Our breakfast nook/dining room windows
Bushes of holly in front of our house
See, it really is holly!
Our grand entryway
We did Christmas "light". I bought each child one gift and they opened them on Dec. 26th.
Kelsey decorated the mantel the minute she found a box marked "Christmas".
Us on our grand staircase
Thankful kids
Celebrating Morgan's birthday with a Conga line
Giving thanks
Big back yard
We had a Tea Party and read 4 books about Princess Emma and Princess Abby
Cuteness incarnate
Emma's happy because...
... we made Christmas cookies!
Enjoying our gas fireplace
Birthday present? Christmas present? Gift from God!
Now our Christmas begins! Photo taken Jan. 6

We love Christmas. It is a season of remembering the birth of Jesus and celebrating our family’s love and togetherness. The whole atmosphere is uplifting, joyful and wholesome. Nobody can take that away from us. Our Christmas tree is a signpost that something exciting is coming. We will put gifts under that tree. We give each other gifts because we love and want to bless each other. We constantly point our children to the reason for the season.

Jesus is a gift beyond compare. Our gifts are paltry compared to that great gift that God gave us. But the desire to give is God-given and blessed by Him. It truly is more blessed to give than to receive. This season is a set-apart season for giving and blessing and loving and thinking about Jesus. I love it that my children have the memories of past Christmases and enjoy making new memories with their family. These are precious and holy to them – the joy, excitement, family time, and Jesus – not the tree.

There’s nothing pagan about that.

We’re celebrating it now in the time frame that God has given us for it. We do things a little different around here…

And now for your listening pleasure…

Little girls sing a happy song from Penney Douglas on Vimeo.