Thanks, Giving, Love

To say I feel loved today, it just doesn’t cut it. Do you ever wake up and just feel so sure, so reassured, and steady that you just breathe and enjoy it? At this time in my life when things are ever-changing and busy, these moments of clarity are so few and far between that I have learned to savor them.

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This weekend I flew to Florida where I met my four bridesmaids, my future sister-in-law and two great friends for a weekend of fun in the sun. We rented a little house in the middle of nowhere with a pool and dock on a sweet little canal. For three days, we drank champagne, told stories, played games, swam, ate and laughed. I swear, my mouth hurts from laughing so much! There wasn’t an ounce of

drama or chaos. I left the weekend feeling tired, but also deeply restored. For months, the wedding has been this concept, this project I’ve worked on primarily alone, and though I wasn’t worried about any of it, I was so isolated I almost forgot the core of what we are celebrating.

Over and over this weekend, friends pulled me away from the group to comment on how wonderful my friends are. “You have amazing people in your life.” And all I could say was, “I know, how freaking lucky am I?”

These people, these beautiful and compassionate souls, have carried me through various challenges in life, and celebrated with me along the way. I am so honored that they were all willing to give their time and money to make this trip, simply to celebrate with me one more time before I say “I do.”

IMG_5821The wedding is about 40 days away, just over a month, and as I come back to reality to finish all these sweet details, I’m doing it with a renewed passion for the family and friends we are bringing together. Aaron and I are so in love, and we’ve built a team I am proud to be on. We work together, support one another, and keep each other on track, but without our larger community, what would we be?

When I got home from the airport last night, I curled up on the couch with him and the dogs right away. We talked about the trip, how his weekend went, and what the rest of this week had in store. We aren’t going anywhere for Thanksgiving. We’ve had a busy year, and with the wedding just a few weeks away, we figured it would be better to stay put and enjoy the holidays in quiet meditation. I was still planning to cook Thanksgiving dinner, just a smaller meal than usual, but when we put our heads together last night we realized our cash flow was going to be very short until the end of the month.

“We have other delicious food, we don’t need to go get a Turkey,” I said.
“We’ll be fine, Em. We’ll figure out how to have a great traditional meal, promise,” Aaron said back.

This morning on my way to work I got an email from my Dad. “I accidentally ordered you another box from Omaha steaks…” was what the subject line said. The body of the email explained the contents of their “Thanksgiving Package” including turkey, stuffing, potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie. I nearly cried. We were never going hungry, don’t be confused, that wasn’t our concern. I just wasn’t sure how much we could celebrate, but even that proved to be an unnecessary concern.

The gifts keep coming, the blessings keep counting themselves, and I’m just here saying “thank you” over and over, hoping it’s heard and understood for the depth at which I mean it. I don’t know what I’ve done in my life to deserve the love I have, from Aaron, from my incredible friends, and from our extended families. Not every moment is perfect or good, but at the end of every day I am safe, happy and cared for.

So for the rest of the month I’m looking for ways to give back, help others and spread this love. Let me know if you have ideas, or share your story below. Thanksgiving isn’t about the turkey, it’s about that feeling when the surprise email arrives in your inbox and you can hardly control your excitement. It’s about lighting up each others lives, and savoring the respite from the busy days behind and ahead of us.

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