A Starry-Eyed Thanksgiving

So surreal outside. The wind has died down and the bright moonlight covers the first snow of the year.

So surreal inside. Family sleeps in warm, comfortable beds protected from the beautiful but dangerously cold air.

My mind ruminates.

It’s late. It doesn’t matter why I’m up. But I am and the gorgeous landscape is a distraction from sleeping.

I love this place.

This spot in the universe is ours and we felt that way from the beginning. Before we bought it, we came out here one night and I caught glimpse of the night sky. It’s breathtaking here. There are no city lights for miles so the stars are given plenty of room to shine their hearts out, like an encouraged first time performer at a talent contest who wants nothing more than to share her God-given-talent and does so without reservation, by the grace of God. These stars have no one competing for attention except each other and the tiny speck of me standing in the back yard soaks it up, egging them on from the front row.

They are magnificent.

Come on out anytime.

Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, will mark 7 years since the house fell down on this property.

The plan was to enjoy those stars from the windows of the house that stood here waiting to be regenerated by us. We had big plans. But our plans were foiled by one-of-those-things. “It’s just one of those things” we said, as if everyone’s house falls down accidentally every now and then.

One of what KIND of things?

The kind of thing that makes you fall to your knees and praise and curse God in one breath?

The kind of thing that causes you to live in a fog for the following weeks while attempting to process said events?

The kind of thing that makes no sense?

Yeah. That kind of thing.

Actually those things are pretty common really.

7 years ago this week we went from excited anticipation to heartbreak. From worrying about kitchen floor plans to giving thanks to God for sparing lives. From “we can do this” to “we can’t do this alone.”

I don’t remember exactly where we were the next day, Thanksgiving Day, but I remember exactly how I felt and what I said over and over.

“I have so much to be thankful for.” My husband is here, my family is safe. Everything else is details.

Enormous, tied-to-my-pride, hurry up and figure this out details. But details nonetheless.

There were certainly plenty of questions in the air that week. And we did not know the answers.

And maybe that’s what makes looking back every year even more meaningful.

We didn’t know what to do. We couldn’t imagine coming up with the answers. But God gave us family to lean on and a direction in which to turn. We didn’t know the perfect answer, but we made educated guesses anyway.

And we moved forward. Because giving up was not an option.

It just isn’t when you have a calling to figure things out for your family.

And so we did.

We never planned to build a new house. Ever. Despite my husband’s excellent building skills, we were remodel people. Old-house-character people.

But there we were. Our plans derailed, our house un-fixable, standing on a couple of acres we’d invested, feeling like this must be a dream. A nightmare. Anything but… Reality.

So surreal.

Life tends to be that way still.

A healthy family. A talented husband. An intact marriage. A loving church community. Supportive friends. Doing what I love in my daily life.

I don’t know how most of this has happened and I’m constantly amazed.

And thankful. Overwhelmingly thankful every Thanksgiving, as I give thanks from this beautiful spot we call home.

The house we built after ours fell down!

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