As I sit here reflecting on Thanksgiving, my heart and my mind are full.
First of all - let me just say how special it is to spend this holiday at HOME. This is the first year we've been with our family since 2008, so it is extra-special! Even if it's not my home (we had an early Thanksgiving with my family on Sunday), after spending 2 Thanksgivings in Michigan and 1 overseas, I am especially grateful for Moms who cook all day, family coming together, beautiful Fall foliage, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, and lots and lots of delicious Thanksgiving food!
We had a wonderful day today with Rusty's Mom & Memaw in Arkansas, and enjoyed an afternoon at the movies seeing "Life of Pi". It was really neat to be watching a movie set in India today - when last year we spent Thanksgiving Day in India! This day a year ago, I remember that I was terribly homesick (the only time I have truly been homesick in all my overseas travels). I missed my family, I missed my favorite meals, I'd just been extremely sick for 2 days, and I wanted to be HOME.
I remember all that, but watching "Life of Pi" today made me remember the beautiful things about our Indian Thanksgiving too. It's true that last Thanksgiving looked VERY different.... but we made some precious memories with some people we love a LOT.
We spent some sweet time with our kids at Asha House last Thanksgiving (as you can see in the corners of the collage above), and let me tell you - "Group Hugs" from these cuties are something I am very thankful for! I was also blown away when I was given a BEAUTIFUL, handmade, red saree as a very special gift! Simini and Sapna (bottom left corner) sneakily made it for me and surprised me on Thanksgiving. It is a gift I will always treasure.
We were excited to spend the day with Jyoti (middle left) who we've been supporting for 4 years. The last time I saw her she was only 2, and terrified of white people. This visit though, she told everyone, "MY Auntie is coming!" and covered us in hugs and kisses all day long!
And, as a special treat that night, we took the Asha House staff out for a special Thanksgiving Dinner. It wasn't a "typical" Thanksgiving meal, but we really enjoyed our time together, eating a feast of Indian and Chinese food!
And so, tonight, I find that while I am home, my heart is in two places. It is here, in the States, with our families.... but it is also half a world a way with our sweet children and our Indian partners. I re-read this blog I wrote last year and I was humbled all over again. We have so much to be grateful for.... much more than just turkey and pumpkin pie.
So as you end your Thanksgiving night, I would ask that you take a moment to read this. And as you reflect on all your blessings... stuffed with an abundance of delicious food... together with your family... snuggled up in your warm, beautiful home... please read this. And please consider showing your gratitude for ALL your blessings by giving to those who are less fortunate. Those precious children you see above will not have blankets or warm clothes this winter if you and I don't do something about it! So please give a donation today towards "Christmas in India", and let's bless others as we have been blessed.