A few years ago when our house sold, we were going to put a bid on a house that night in town. After teaching, I was talking to my aunt, driving by that house – and it had a pending sign. I was so disappointed, I bought a turkey. That was on a Tuesday. By Friday, I had picked up the oysters, the dressing, chocolate chips and pecans – everything for a big dinner. No Big Dinner announcement was every made – it just evolved.
Early Saturday morning, I stuffed the turkey into the oven, started the oysters, directed the boys to move the harvest table outside. Suddenly, it was a Blue Cotton Merry Thanksgaween (if it sounds familiar – we commandeered the name from an air-travel commercial) – and everyone had to dig into the costume chests. One came dressed with purple hair and a Frodo Baggins jacket on a stick pony, one was a knight, a basketball player, I arrived with cat ears and whiskers. I can’t remember all the costumes – except we were an imperfect, rag-tag group finding joy despite life’s imperfections.
This little Blue Cotton imperfect holiday has evolved. It’s not every year. It’s not one specific day – though it is always in the Fall – it is always family, unconventional – and merry.
Sometimes feast days are needed – and feast days always have family.
So we dress up imperfectly, build an imperfect feast, sit down to the imperfectly set table – and find blessing in this imperfect coming together.
This year, I delegated.
One son was in charge of games, another tree decorations. The two youngest – cookies and icing.
One son and his lovely girlfriend were in charge of decorating eggs. Friday night was spent in the kitchen with them coloring eggs. Husband and sons scoffed at our turmeric, paprika, blueberry and beet egg coloring – as they drilled holes to drain other eggs, use magic markers and lights for their creations. In this house full of boys, it was a gift, plain and simple – to have my son’s girlfriend there, just as excited about using spices and fruit to color eggs.
My youngest read “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”
“Mild He lays his glory by
born that we no more may die
born to raise us from the earth
born to give us second birth”
“To bring the matter to one point, Is the power who is jealous of our prosperity, a proper power to govern us? Whoever says, No, to this question, is an independent, for independence means no more than this, whether we shall make our own law, or, whether the king, the greatest enemy which this continent hath, or can have, shall tell us there shall be no laws but such as I like.”
“Five hundred or a thousand persons who had seen him at different times, declared that they did see him, and that he rose from the dead; the fact of his death having been attested beforehand. How, then, dare any man say that the Christian religion is not true, when we know for a certainty that Christ died and rose again from the dead? And knowing that, who shall deny the divinity of the Savior? Who shall say that he is not mighty to save? Our faith has a solid basis, for it hat all these witnesses on which to rest, and the more sure witness of the Holy Spirit witnessing in our hearts.” (“We Know Jesus Rose from the Dead, Because the Spirit Tells us So”)
“One upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
‘Tis some visitor,’ I muttered, ‘tapping at my chamber door –
only this and nothing more” (“The Raven”).
to squirrels digging holes, burying nutty pleasures for winter want
to a marriage that allows room for each of our gifts to find a place to grow tall, like 2 trees, side-by-side, intertwined into one.
to loving family enough to pull them into home, to break bread, share lofty ideas and silliness, to create imperfect opportunities out of imperfect love that somehow becomes something imperfectly beautiful.
The tree didn’t appear. We gave up on the cookies – and it was o.k. I pulled some homemade blueberry crunch muffins out of the freezer, made homemade pumpkin ice cream, watched grandbaby girl get in and out of the little yellow and orange car with her pup-pup, organize the wooden men in the wooden school bus – and be a gecko to her papaw’s Land Shark.
Sipped hot spiced apple cider (without whipped cream because one son used it all on his waffles the day before) while watching all my boys to men play basketball and soccer under the imperfect, chilled, gray skies.
Oh, how God blesses us in the imperfect of ourselves, our situation and the daily – sometimes the blessing is just there waiting for us to look – like with trees and squirrels. Sometimes we have to invite the opportunity for the blessing to be – like in Big Dinners or Merry Thanksgaween inventions – and if we let the imperfect moments come quietly, don’t let the desire for worldly perfect chase blessing away -grace comes along with an armload of spirit fruit: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
After I watched grandbaby girl hug her uncles – all big and small of them, hug them good-bye, I turned to clean up this beautiful, imperfect mess we all made.
“I’ve learned recently to love imperfection a lot because it shines such a big light on God’s grace. And if someone has grace for you that’s when you feel their love the most and they see you for who you are and they love you anyway.”
― Lacey Mosley
(I used beet juice with lemon juice to dye the eggs a pinkish/reddish color. I used the directions for the other colors from here)
1088 – 1108 – Still counting blessing with Ann at a Holy Experience.