Today’s special Thanksgiving post is by Eric and Joy McPherson. They are contributors to my and co-author, Starr Ayers’, recent book, Room at the Table: Encouraging Stories from Special Needs Families. Eric and Joy live in Mid-Michigan and love spending time with their family. They are the parents of two children and a very animated puppy named Ike, who has inspired many light-hearted tales.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
In my attempt at family bonding, I like to bring crafting projects, yummy treats, and table decorations to my parent’s holiday parties. It doesn’t happen at every get-together, although I try to incorporate it into our yearly festivities.
You see, I lived away from my family for many years, and those holiday seasons brought me an indescribable amount of sadness. When I moved back home, I changed my focus and tried something different during the holiday season — doing table projects.
The Perfect Thanksgiving Craft
Last year was no exception; I spent a good part of thanksgiving week researching the perfect craft project. I perused Pinterest diligently, creating a Thanksgiving board of perfection with all of my top choices for the year’s family holiday crafting projects. There were so many to choose from, and with my son, Eli having autism, this was becoming quite a challenge. He has a limited attention span and it was important to me that everyone at the table enjoyed their time together.
Finally, after hours of contemplation, my husband Eric and I decided we would all color turkey hats together. This was a good idea, of course. I convinced myself everyone would just love it and participate. At the end of the day, we could take a picture of our masterpieces and each other; this was a win, win in my book!
As I reflect on this Thanksgiving day, I love to think about how much fun we all had making those silly turkey hats. Sharing our colored markers and pencils across the long table, helping Grandpa put his hat on correctly. Taking pictures of everyone smiling, laughing, and having fun.
The Albino Turkey
I’m giggling now as I think about my brother Jim and my nephew Sam on this day. They would not color their turkey hats! Telling me their turkeys were special because they were ALBINO TURKEYS—ones that couldn’t be colored.
It makes me laugh to this day how unique and hilarious the two of them were. They joined forces to remind me how special an albino turkey was, how rare it was to find one, and how being different is not only ok, it’s beautiful. Tears come to my eyes even now as I think about how much those two taught me on my journey toward celebrating and giving thanks for everything.
This year, Thanksgiving will be at my parent’s house. I looked for a craft on Pinterest this weekend, searching diligently for that eye-catching idea to make a memory last a lifetime.
Things are different this year, as we lost Jim in February.
With an unbearable loss, I only know to reach out to the Lord and hold on to his word. I grasp onto it and repeat it as it sinks into the depths of my troubled heart. I’m reminded of the verse in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 about giving thanks in all circumstances.
Sometimes, it’s hard for me to give thanks, especially now when my heart hurts. But remembering God’s promises gives me the strength to walk in faith and try to put one foot in front of the other. Believe me, this is not easy, but all things are possible with God.
So, this year, I’ve decided to do something unique and something a little of the same for our Thanksgiving crafting tradition at the table. I will put those crayons and markers out, and I’ll pull out some paper, and we will see what happens. As we all found last year, an albino turkey is rare and special. This is just beautiful.
You can purchase Room at the Table: Encouraging Stories from Special Needs Families here.
Will always cherish those family memories of love and laughter, shared around the table during the holidays. And mama’s pies of course.
I know that! I love my memories of Thanksgiving and the food, family, and fun we all had. Happy Thanksgiving, J.D!