We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and this has been an unbelievable weekend of friends reuniting. John, Melissa, Josh, and Caryn all arrived Wed. night to share Thanksgiving with us and the Hamiltons. I loved heating up our tiny kitchen Thanksgiving morning and cooking some delicious dishes with my sis, Melis. Then we brought everything over to Nick and Katie's, where the finishing touches were being made on the turkey and other delicious treats. At 2:30, all nine of us sat around a long table beautifully decorated by Katie, and laughed and talked and raved about the turkey, stuffing, orange cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn casserole, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, whole wheat rolls, and southern sweeties sweet potatoes. Everything was homemade by different people and it was quite the feast!
Then, in a way that only close old friends could do...we switched the conversation to a more serious tone as we all took turns sharing what we are thankful for this Thanksgiving. I love that it is so easy to be with these friends...and just talk and laugh the hardest I've laughed in a long time, but it is just as easy to share with them on a heart level and hear about their lives, and what the Lord has been showing or teaching them. One of my favorite things someone shared is that the Lord is our ultimate hope.
So after the decadent meal (and of course a second round), the guys did the dishes/clean-up, and I was able to talk to my mom and dad, and sister, Mickey. It was my first Thanksgiving not in Colorado, and I miss my family a lot, but I am thankful that they were all together! Then, we all worked off some of the meal by playing at the park...frollicking in the leaves, playing with Charlie, and throwing the frisbee. Then, my dear friend Lindsey arrived in time for desserts, wassail, and games. The guys had some intense convos. in the dining room, while the girls sat in the living room and talked until late in the night.
Yesterday, we made waffles with strawberries, and eggs with veggies for breakfast. Then, we let the Christmas music fill our home, as our three guests helped us decorate for Christmas! It looks so festive! The only thing left is buying and decorating our tree, which will probably happen today. After a quesadilla lunch, we met the rest of the crew, along with Katie and Ryan McCulley at our favorite park in Knoxville. The guys played disc golf, while us girls looked at Katie's wedding scrapbook and took a little walk. I'll have to post the group pic as soon as I can. We were all astounded to have a reunion of eleven great friends, that all went to CSU, right here in Knoxville, TN!
After the McCulleys headed out for Nashville, the rest of us enjoyed delicious Italian food and wine at our new favorite restaurant...a tiny, family-owned Italian place called Savelli's. And finally, the night commenced with a bit of caroling, Christmas music, and talking over cookies and hot drinks at our decorated home!
It has been an AMAZING past few days, and I am so thankful that God has given us great friends like these from college...to encourage us, support us, and always have such a great time with!
I am also thankful for:
*David - He is such an amazing husband! Not only does he work so skillfully at two jobs to provide for me, but he has also been such a supporter, leader in making hard decisions, constant encourager, and best friend.
*Nick and Katie - They are such great friends, and we have been so blessed by their hearts to serve us and love us. They are so fun to hang out with. We also are thankful for all of the rest of the Navs staff here in Knoxville.
*My bible study - I have loved leading five freshman girls through John this semester. It is the highlight of my week to be with them. They are all so fun and sweet, and they are hungry for the Word, and learning how to love Jesus in all of their different life situations.
*Christmas in Colorado!! - I can not even wait to come back to Colorado for Christmas, and get some much-needed time with the Hillmans, the Tetens, other friends, visiting our old church, etc! I miss everyone there so much...and I am counting down the days til I'm in snowy CO again.
But above all else...
"...I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord..." (Phil. 3:8)
He is the Provider of all of these good things, but more importantly, He died on a cross, so that I could have life with Him forever! Now that is something to be thankful for.