Sunday, November 29, 2009

52 Blessings--Pieces

My nephew, Pal, sent me this puzzle this week. Besides making me smile when I saw it and read, “I love you to pieces,” it made me think of how it really is all of the little pieces that make things so good. Our Thanksgiving was definitely full of good pieces.

Piece one, caring family. This puzzle is a recycle project from Pal’s scout troop. It was sitting in the mailbox when we returned from Idaho. To be thought kindly of is always a fun surprise. Another big piece of caring family was spending the Thanksgiving holiday and visiting with lots of family.

Niki and Ande

Piece two, generosity. My brother-in-law and sister, Bruce and Chris, and their two kids, Charlie and Jake, invited us to Thanksgiving. Not only did they invite us, they invited Trevor and his family and Trent and his family, too. That meant four people invited fourteen people. They wouldn’t let us bring anything. Chris is a really good cook, so it’s not like she needed our help, but she helps run the livestock sale yard on Wednesday and it certainly would have been easier for her to either not invite us or allowed us to help. Their generosity was certainly a kind piece of our weekend.

Piece three, charmed shopping. Last year Chris suggested we try a Black Friday. We had a great time, so we were game to do it again this year. We perused the ads while Thanksgiving dinner cooked and plotted our stores. The next morning Chris commandeered the eight of us girls (you really need to know Chris, she does nothing in slow-mo) into the car at 3:30 am. We were at JC Penny’s before 4:00 am. She gave us 45 minutes until we had to be done and back at our meeting place for the next store’s door buster at 5:00. Since we’d studied the ads, we knew what we were hoping for, but Chris does not hope, she gets. She maneuvered (did I mention how quickly her 100 pounds moves?) her way through the crowds seizing the things we were looking for. Yay, sometimes even snagging the last item. She’s that good. And then, she has this trick for getting waited on so that she doesn’t have to wait in the hour long lines. She made me promise I wouldn’t share it. It’s honest. It’s not rude. It’s not even selfish. It is just an unknown trick that works. Sufficeth me to say, Chris herded us through over a dozen stores in ten hours. We may have been packed to the roof, indeed we were, but we were successful. I’m hard pressed to tell the best deal. If I went by money saved it would be Grace’s or Calvin’s present, however, if I went for the wow factor, it would be the nice $60 suitcases we got at Sears for $2. A ten hour work day would have worn us out, but the success of saving money fueled our cause and made for a fun, productive day.

Piece four, tradition. Chris and Bruce have a loft that sleeps 20. Trevor and his family, Calvin, me and Ande all slept in it. It is the funnest thing to all be together talking in bed with a fire flickering in the corner of the room and the lights twinkling on the little trees. It’s like camping without the cold or grime. Another tradition that Chris started last year was to draw names and then give everyone $10 to buy a gift for their person while we’re out bargain hunting. It’s fun to gather in the loft and exchange the gifts after a long day of shopping. Even though the men don’t participate in the exchange (they dare to scoff) they always join us when it’s time to open and see who bought what for whom.

Jake and Bruce

Piece five, celebration. Whether we were celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, or Calvin’s birthday on Friday, it just felt good to have such good things to celebrate.

Chris and Calvin

And this picture is for all the missing pieces—those who weren’t there with us . . .


Hundreds of other happy pieces . . .
  • listening to Ande and Cousin Rachel read aloud to each other in the back seat as we drove home
  • visiting with the kids and also nieces, nephews, sisters, brothers-in-law
  • food
  • more food
  • games and games of dominoes
  • holding babies
  • making disposable slippers
  • laughing real hard
  • heartfelt conversations
  • a drive to old landmarks
. . . combined together for a Happy Thanksgiving. I am grateful to the Lord for all the little pieces in life that make it into something big and beautiful.


Julie said...

Happy Thanksgiving Jane! I wish I could have been on the Black Friday trip with you. Fun traditions!

Jill said...

I love your new banner, it's gorgeous!

You are so right, it's definitely all the little pieces that when put together make a wonderful whole!

Heather @ Multiple Hats said...

I love your pieces! Your life is the most spectacular puzzle ever.

Ande Payne said...

What a clever blog. Thanks for being the main piece.

Emma J said...

Sounds like an incredible holiday. I love your traditions.

Barb said...

I can't believe the black Friday thing - we don't have anything like it.

I myself have been tutored under a Jedi-level shopper as a shopping apprentice for many years, and I thought I knew it all, but you really have me wondering about Chris' secret.

michelle said...

What?! $2 suitcases!!

There are a lot of great pieces here.