Jackson Five Friday: An Intergenerational Thanksgiving

I consider it a great blessing to be very invested in the life of my niece, Caitlin.  Not only have I loved her with an insatiable love since the moment she was born, she has brought me great joy in unexpected ways. She moved to Arlington, Virginia after college and even teaches at my sons’ school.  I get to interact with her on a regular basis even though she is a twenty-something with her own life.

This Thanksgiving all our family plans fell through.  It was going be the five of us, plus Caitlin.  This was just fine, but I’m kind of a more-the-merrier person, so I told Caitlin to round up some friends.  Surely, since she seemingly knows half the twenty-somethings in DC, she could identify some stragglers.  She came through too, one lovely young lady I already knew and three more — two guys and a girl — I didn’t. It was a family of five plus five singles, and we were thankful.

It’s nice to be around people who are not your natural peers.  I am invariably blessed by being with women much older than me, and women much younger than me.  Being around younger guys is not a frequent occurrence, but I enjoyed it immensely —  except for the fact that one guy in his mid-twenties consistently addressed me with “yes, ma’am,” which I know was intended to show respect but instead made me feel ninety.

We filled our plates and were ready to eat.  Sam proposed a toast — he was drinking Orange Fanta.

He raised his glass and said: “To,” and paused for effect, “…to Fanta!”

We clinked our glasses.  We gave thanks.

I hope your Thanksgiving was as simple and blissful as ours!

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Jackson Five Friday: “Helllloooo Laaadiees”

The other day I got another report from a fellow mom that my son, Sam (7), has been at it again.  Evidently the other day when a group of middle school girls passed him in the hallway at school he said, “Helllooo Laadies!”  I don’t know where he got this, but he’s been using it off and on for years.  Since it gets him a consistent laugh, I don’t see him putting it to rest anytime soon.  Plus it has the added pleasure for Sam of embarrassing his brothers half to death.

This kid is such an enigma because in some ways he’s quite immature.  It’s almost as if he oscillates between acting like an oblivious and easily angered four-year-old and then an engaging comedian with a highly developed persona and impeccable timing a la Jimmy Fallon.  If you catch him in the right mood, he can make anything funny.  Anything.  The other day I asked him if he had homework.

“Do I have homework?” he repeated with a sly little smile.  “Uhh, yes, I do!”  I wish I had video evidence because it would prove to you that somehow –with creative expression and atypical delivery — Sam made this bland little exchange hilarious.  It’s a serious gift.

I’ve always told my older boys that God gives us different gifts (Romans 12), and that our job is to use them for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10).

I don’t know what Sam using his gifts for the glory of God is going to look like.  I really don’t.  All I know is that I will love every second of it.

May we all acknowledge and develop our gifts and faithfully use them to glorify God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

Jackson Five Friday: Early and Often

It is November and “early and often” may be the voting mantra of greater New Orleans, but I’m actually referring to sled buying.  Because if you wait for the snow to come, the sleds will be gone.  I learned that the hard way last year.

I was feeling like a sledding rock star one snowy afternoon last winter.  I had packed a large thermos of hot chocolate, disposable cups with lids and was sufficiently wrapped up to scale Everest.  I even had enough hot chocolate to share with school friends we happened into slope side.  I was on winter’s cloud nine.

It was then that I challenged my sons in a race.

“Oh I can beat you,” I said.  “You just wait and see.”

As we counted “one, two, three…GO,” I was full of confidence.

We ran to the edge of the downslope and dove onto our $5 plastic disk sleds (which, by the way are the best — L.L Bean should be forced to pull the $40 versions they are selling this year with the flannel insert — shame, shame, shame).

But the problem was, my sled — the sled I borrowed from a four-year-old — shattered on impact.

I mean shattered.  I was mortified.  How does one even recover in such a moment?

To make matters worse, a rather large mama (as in substantially larger than me, and I ain’t petite) tried to console me.

“You know,” she said, “I bet a lot of sleds have shattered like that today because it’s sooo cold.”

I didn’t know her, but I sure wanted to believe her logic.

Either way, I was determined to replace this little guy’s sled.  However, there is NO buying sleds in the midst of the snowiest winter in history.  That’s why when I saw sleds in October, I stocked up.  I’m telling you, early and often is the way to go with sleds.

And this week I finally had the opportunity to pay back the sled.  I delivered it during carpool and the family seemed rather perplexed by the whole thing, and even tried to give it back.  But I insisted on paying my sled debt.

I can’t tell you how good that felt.  Paying debts is always freeing.  Do you have any odd debts you need to pay?  I bet you’ll feel freer if you just go ahead and pay up.

Paul writes in Romans, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” (13:8).

Ahh, may I pay up in sleds, but most of all in love.  Happy Friday to ALL and may we LOVE one another well this week!