Tuesday, November 17, 2009

count your blessings...

this past sunday, our church hosted its annual thanksgiving dinner. the church provides turkey, ham and dressing, and everyone else brings sides and desserts. i love this event--it's probably one of my favorites. mainly because it feels like a big family meal and the food is awesome :)

tim and heidi always welcome everyone and give directions for going through the line. they have this down to a science by now, and we easily feed a couple hundred people (or more, i'm really bad with guessing on numbers) in a little under half an hour.

and what a line it is... about five banquet tables lined with food, and then several others further down with desserts. soooooo goooooooooood!
this gives you an idea of the fellowship hall and we filled it up tonight!
and then--the best part. i mean, the food is amazing, but i love listening to everyone come up and share what they're thankful for. some of them are funny, some are sad or tear-jerking, but all are heart-felt and earnest. it's cool hearing my friends share, but then also seeing new families that talk about the way they've felt welcomed into the church and are so happy to be here.
we were with my friends who had toddlers, so they brought crayons to keep them entertained. which also kept me entertained...
but eventually, i had to get up and make the rounds to see some of my favorites. like this guy (and his mama, of course)
he was really interested in my camera...
i mean REALLY interested! i always love getting some "josh time" in :)
and then i stopped to talk to this girl's mom. miss savannah will be showing up again here soon after i finish editing her family's photo shoot from this past weekend!
and then i had to stop by to see my favorite girls (who were also drawing on the table) and talk to their parents.
lily was happy to ham it up for a couple of pictures--can't wait til it's time for their photo shoot next month!

and as i eventually made it back to my seat, listening to everyone share what they're thankful for and the ways that they've seen God's love this past year--my heart was full. it was the first of several thanksgiving meals that we'll have over the next couple of weeks, but it was a particularly special one for me. it was "my family"--my church family, my brothers and sisters in Christ, my dear friends that share day in and day out life with us. we're blessed to have family members close by and many within driving distance, but i am always grateful for the family that God has created for us there.

the title for this post is count your blessings, and it's from an old hymn that i thought of as i left on sunday evening...

when upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
when you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
count your many blessings, name them one by one,
and it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

count your blessings, name them one by one,
count your blessings, see what God hath done!

so, what are your blessings? what are you thankful for this year?