"Family traditions give identity and belonging to each member." - James Dobson
1. Growing our Own Pumpkins: Our version of shooting your own turkey! We have seen orange pumpkins here once, but they were $30+ so we didn't even buy one, thus a family tradition was born.
An early shot of our pumpkin patch
This year Jimmy got some heirloom seeds. Next year we will be able to plant them on our own land, but this year they were planted on some borrowed property in front of our soon to be forever house.
They did pretty good, but next year with some adjustments we hope to have an even bigger harvest. We had enough this year to ship to friends. Some of our pumpkins made it into pies in Antigua, Xela, and Sayaxche! Our boys will get to pick their own pumpkins right out of the patch!
2. The Food: An easy tradition but very important especially for Thanksgiving is having specific food for each holiday. Since October, each time I puree pumpkin we roast the pumpkin seeds. We saute ours in butter, garlic, and salt. Then we bake them. They are addicting!
This year some missionary friends in Sayaxche invited us over for Thanksgiving. We got to spend the day with Arlen and Keturah and their family, plus they invited David and Regina who have just moved to Sayaxche. We had a wonderful time!
Keturah made a delicious turkey and between the 3 of us women we had the works, every type of side you could imagine!
In our family I plan on always having turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, cranberry something, yeast rolls, and pumpkin pie... no more!
This year I got the dressing, sweet potatoes, and pies figured out and hopefully by next year I will have figured out the cranberry something and yeast rolls (Keturah shared her recipe with me!) Jimmy is in charge of the turkey. My goal is a feast without the stress... we will see!
3. Nothing Christmasy until after Thanksgiving: This is a really important holiday. It incorporates faith, family, and country, so I don't want it to get lost. That means no Christmas decorations or music until the day after Thanksgiving.
Most of our decorations are things God made! I asked Claudia for some dried corn husks since SR had just harvested their corn. She brought me 2 bags!
So those made up our wreath. It's hot and humid here unlike Thanksgiving in the States, so my wreath wilted and started looking like a bad wig after a couple days. I still left it up all month. Our friends got a kick out of seeing corn husks on our door!
Guatemala has beautiful ayotes this time of year that come in all kinds of interesting shapes and colors. I bought 3 (one was on the table).
Unfortunately our fall leaves are only felt and not the real thing, but at least we still had some!
Jimmy thinks he's cute trying to mess up my picture!
4. Thankful wall: In our forever house our great room is going to have a chalkboard wall. During the entire month of November we are going to fill it up with things we are thankful for, that way it surrounds us each day.
Photo found here
This year we had to improvise, so we used refrigerator magnets.
Each year on thanksgiving day we will take a family photo in front of our wall. We can use these photos to make a book, a history book of how God blessed our family over the years.
I learned that it is better to take the photo at the beginning of the day instead of the end when everyone looks worn out! Oh well.
5. Memory Candle: Thanksgiving will always be extra special to Jimmy and I because of Thanksgiving 2008. We saw God in a way that we never want to forget. He took something bad and turned it into something beautiful. It marked our first outreach in Santa Rita, the life of our first baby that we will get to meet in Heaven and God turning a team canceling to our extended family all being in Guatemala together for Thanksgiving! Only the one true God could orchestrate something like that.
Jimmy's Mom sent us a candle that smells like thanksgiving. It fills the house. The smell reminds me of the night we were all there together, celebrating all that God had done. So each November we will light a scented candle to remind us of God's faithfulness.