Celebrating Baby’s First Thanksgiving

My great-nephew was the star of our Thanksgiving, providing endless entertainment.

His bright smile lights up your heart when it beams on you. When he glares at you with a “grumpy cat” face, you know it won’t last. His eyes grow wide and bright with wonder at simple joys- watching a silly toy dog that spins, hearing his daddy’s voice in the next room, peering past everyone and everything else to smile at his mommy, playing with an empty cup. His happy laugh and squeaks and squeals make everyone join in with big smiles and laughter, too.

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How blessed a family is to share special days with a baby in the midst of it all.

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Thankful Heart

It’s our last day before Thanksgiving. Inspired by Georgia Heard and her BEAUTIFUL book Heart Maps Here is my mentor text (my own heart map this Thanksgiving) for today’s activity with my students:

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Celebrating a Smile

Yesterday the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the kids ran around joyfully at outdoor recess. Last night clouds rolled in, lightning flashed, and drenching rain poured down. Today the sky was gray, a cold blustery wind blew, and it was clear winter is on the way. As I walked outside, the quick glimmer of a few flakes of snow caught my eye. I smiled.

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Showers of Love

Saturday evening was my daughter’s bridal shower. What a joyful occasion it was! My second sister planned everything, insisting I not lift a finger- I was mother of the bride, she said, and my only job was to enjoy. She got the decorations, planned the food (a friend of hers volunteered to help, though she doesn’t know my daughter- she loves my sister), coordinated the games with the maid of honor, arranged to rent the community room of my niece’s apartment complex, and gathered all the stuff and brought it there. My other sister contributed to the expenses and showed up to pitch in on the spot. And I just walked in and had a good time. It was a perfect evening for my daughter.

The tables were adorned with miniature Eiffel Towers and Hershey Kisses. A “Bride-to-Be” banner festooned the hearth where the presents were piled. The mothers of the couple and the bridesmaids had special pins to wear. All the guests got “diamonds,” but they could keep them only if they kept from saying “bride, shower, and wedding.” For one game everyone shared a memory of the bride, and the one who stumped her got the prize- it was the groom’s youngest sister. The cake was gorgeous- topped by the Eiffel Tower encircled by roses. Red velvet- elegant!

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Our family, her future mother-in- law and sisters-in-law, my daughter’s college friends, and long-time friends from our church family all came together. Most of my daughter’s registry was fulfilled, along with some surprises. Everyone was so generous. I know it is something she will remember all her life. I will, too.

My mom would have loved every moment. Although she is no longer with us, she was there in some sweet moments. One niece brought a gift that was “not on the registry”- it hadn’t been on hers, either, several years ago when she got married- but it was the same gift Mom had given her with a note that she was sure it would be used often even though it wasn’t on her registry. (And as usual, she was right.) The last gift opened was a small sewing cabinet passed down from my mom and now to my daughter- the first piece of furniture of her own my mother had received as a young bride. It was newly stocked with some needles and thread- and a pair of scissors shaped like the Eiffel Tower!

There are perfect and happy moments in life when love fills our hearts to overflowing. This was one of those moments for me and my daughter. I will always cherish the beautiful gift of my sister’s love, and I will always remember all the love showered down on us by family and friends.

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Celebrating Cats

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These two cats have lived in my house a long time. At times they’ve tried my patience, clawing on furniture and otherwise making a mess. But they have provided a lot of entertainment, kitty love, and writing inspiration. I’ve watched them grow up, know all their moods, and I’m used to their company. By this time next week, they will be at their new home- my daughter’s first apartment. And I will miss them. All.

I am glad they won’t be far. They are every day celebrations.

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Friends Night

Recently five friends got together on a Friday night. We drove about an hour out of town and met at a small town cafe for dinner. It was a mom and pop operation. Some of us had BLTs and some had a meatloaf sandwich. But the main course of the evening was after dinner, when we went to a movie at a historic theater. Originally built in 1922 as a silent movie theater, it was renovated in the late 40’s in the Art Deco style and is now run by a local historical preservation and community service group.

A trip to the movies there is much more than just going to watch the movie. A lot of hoopla goes on before the movie. All the ticket stubs go in a big hopper that is turned with great ceremony. Winners are called up to receive prizes based on the movie. We were there for The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, an old Don Knotts classic. The prizes were a can of Bon Ami, ghost peeps, and “Atta Boy” buttons. The person who had traveled the farthest also was called up to put a pin in a map that was rolled out and to get a prize, too. Before the movie, you get to stand for the National Anthem and then watch a classic cartoon. The concession stand has prices closer to the old days than nowadays.

We laughed our heads off at the silly movie. What good medicine! You see, one of the friends is fighting ovarian cancer. For the third time. We laughed a lot, but we are serious about making good memories. Have all the fun you can and spend all the time you can with your friends. The memories will last forever.

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Celebrating the Day Ahead

I am at Butler University with a roomful of teachers…and Lester Laminack, visiting scholar for the Indiana Partnership for Young Writers. You know it’s going to be a fantastic day. Add to it we are in a huge, lovely room looking out a wall of windows at a clear blue sky, bright autumn trees, and an old, stone university building.

Lester has started out talking about candy corn season… and segued into a discussion of the Southern tradition of eating tomatoes only in season.. and now is showing off pics of his granddaughter and bragging how smart she is..and now he has noticed the tree out the window…and he is reading Cynthia Rylant’s IN NOVEMBER… well, you can see I am telling the truth about my fantastic day!

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