Happy Thanksgiving, Cheri!

This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for family.

I’m grateful to have all four grandparents still around & a big part of my life. And this year, I count that a blessing more than ever, as I sat scarfing turkey next to my grandmother who just a few weeks ago was hospitalized for a stroke. Today she made ambrosia, chatted & filled her plate to the brim, like she would have any other year. It was surreal, to say the least.

This Thanksgiving had an almost sacred feel to it. So much was orchestrated to fall on one weekend, or to lead to this day. A family that was once broken was restored; all that was hurt seemed healed. Reconciliation has been such a huge theme in my life lately, & more than ever this week. It’s like God is standing in front of me, saying “I told you! I am making all things new.” What a promise. What a thing to give thanks over.

A few weeks ago I did a photo project on my sweet lunch buddy, Crystal. She’s 12, in the 5th grade, & we’ve been eating lunch together for over a year now. She, like so many children today, comes from a broken home. While she sleeps in her grandmother’s house in Tennessee, her mother remains up North in Illinois; her father in Ohio. A handful of half-siblings are scattered throughout the States.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of her fragmented family as I was surrounded by my own. I know there’s not much I can do to solve Crystal’s broken home. But I can show her love. And somehow, that love has made a difference –– if ever so slightly. As I was leaving her house after an afternoon of photos & chatting in the grass, she popped back out of her front door & shouted at me through the windshield. Laughing, I rolled my window down to listen. I’ll never forget the words that came next.

“I love you. You’re my family.”

This Thanksgiving, as you reflect on the blessings in your life, I encourage you to remember those who are not so fortunate, & to somehow share with them, in whatever capacity you can, the good that you’ve gotten to experience. I promise, you’ll never be the same.