Hello, my beautiful friends, and Happy Thanksgiving.
For me, today marks the beginning of a season each year that celebrates the year past and anticipates with joy the year ahead. This season is typically a time of reflection and gathering, of pause and planning. It has been, in the past, a time of celebration of the year’s successes and the building of faith in those milestones of the next year.
I woke early this morning, I imagine like so many others. The Thanksgiving meal has been planned now for a couple of weeks. The turkey and homemade pie crusts are thawed and ready for the oven. The ingredients for the side dishes that match everyone’s taste preferences are purchased and ready for mixing. My mom and I have reviewed how Thanksgiving will play out as far as timing and who makes what and what time for everyone to be where. All in all, kind of normal.
Except it isn’t.
Family will be missing from our Thanksgiving table this year. And the beautifully decorated formal dining room table will be empty of china and conversation for this year’s Thanksgiving meal. Our intently planned meal will be eaten from camping chairs on my parents’ driveway — not in dressy, fall-colored clothing, but in jeans, sweaters, and boots.
We will not fill our day with shopping for Christmas gifts tomorrow, and we will not be Christmas decorating our buns off through the weekend. We’ve already done all of that. Christmas shopping was done all online this year and the lists are all but complete. And decorating? Well, we went ahead and did that this past week. The weather was beautiful and we needed some solid joy moments.
So, here we are. Not in a bad place, but in a different place than usual for this time of year. The reflections and gatherings look quite different. The pause has been intermixed with moments of stress and anxiety. And planning… Geesh! How can anyone do much of that with so many question marks in our lives right now?
But Here Is What I Do Know
In my greatest moments of unknown, that’s where my stress and anxiety likes to creep in, turning my direction to realizing all of the gifts that have been scattered along the path of this crazy year brings a sense of reality. Taking the anticipation for what comes next and stopping to acknowledge the right now, stops anxiety in its tracks. And giving gratitude for all of the many, many blessings of this absolutely bizarre season of life that we are walking through brings to rise the abundance of all glory around me.
In Gratitude Comes Abundance
My year has been pegged with new experiences, the need for grander creativity, the connection with clients and neighbors that is deeper and more human than my connections have ever been previous to this year, and my understanding of the need for family and community is complete.
This year we have slowed down, re-evaluated. We’ve been throttled through warp speed changes on how we manage our supply chains, do business, and meet friends for coffee. We have felt anxiety and depression or have loved ones through it. We have suffered the greatest human losses and cheered on those that put their lives on the line to save others.
But, we are here and we are here together. I’m not proud of 2020 for many, many reasons. But, I am grateful for so much. And, I will not let the dark of what surrounds us take away the joy and beauty that gratitude brings. We celebrate the abundance of human capability, dedication, love, and faith.
On this Thanksgiving, I am grateful for you — my friends, neighbors, clients, and colleagues. My life would certainly not be full without the paths that cross it every single day. I am grateful for our experiences together, the life journey you have chosen to share with me, the smiles we get to exchange, and the moments that are creating our life stories.
I am grateful for you. Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours, friends! 🥂
With Grit & Grace~
Sarah Keenan, Photographer
Westland Farms Studio
Boudoir Studio Knoxville
These beautiful images were taken by my sweet and very talented Devon Adriane Photography 🧡 Thank you, friend. We love you!