“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams.  Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential.  Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

—  Pope John XXIII

I’m up with the chickens this morning — more accurately, I’m up with the turkey.  I know most of you are already stuffed with Thanksgiving delights and either lurking in retail-store parking lots or sleeping in and vowing never to eat that much pie again, but we are just preparing for our celebration of thanks.  Mark and I decided when our children began to marry and leave the nest that we didn’t want to make holidays stressful for them by setting up a contest with the family celebrations of their significant others.  So it is that Franksgiving was born.

Franksgiving n. — A somewhat obscure holiday whose name is derived from the day of the week on which it is celebrated — Friday — and the traditional holiday name, Thanksgiving.  It allows celebrants to express thanks for one more thing — the fact that they need not consume two turkey dinners on the same day.

This is a precision sort of holiday, and in order for the main dish to be ready by the traditional hour of one-ish PM, the cook needs to start the roaster no later than 5:30 AM.  I am thankful that nature has made me an early riser by default, which makes the first step an easy one. The list of tasks is posted on the fridge.  This is essential since I have houseguests and early arrivers who really want to help but don’t know what to do.  The list lets them choose something vital and check it off when it’s done.  I am thankful for willing helpers who are able to read and who now can reach the countertops without climbing on chairs.  My shins are thankful that the chairs can be parked in their designated spots at the table.

I am daunted by the realization that I will be serving dinner to thirty people.  I am more daunted by the thought that eight of those people will be under the age of seven.  Babyproofing is at the top of the list, and it extends from waist-height down to the floorboards.  This is quite a challenge in an adults-only house.  I am thankful that we have so many friends and family who love us enough to give a day of their lives to our celebration.  I am thankful for so many little ones to brighten our day and show us the hope of the future.  I am thankful for all the possessions we take for granted until we must move them in order to keep the children safe.

I am a little bit sad that we will not pursue our Franksgiving craft project this year — a tradition begun by my mother-in-law, where each person can make a Christmas ornament after dinner.  We simply do not have the space in our house to pull this off without taking away the play space for the kids.  We will defer to them until they are old enough to enjoy crafting and bask in the delight of watching their antics.  Instead, I will place my new journal, “ Stars Inside Her,” in a conspicuous location — along with a pen — and invite people to write or draw the things that make them frankful…er, thankful.  I am thankful for such a beautiful vehicle for people to express their gratitude.  I am thankful for a year that inspires thanks.

We will gather at one-ish, bringing our hopes and our dreams.  We will sit in community, filled with potential that encourages us to stretch our limits and become a little bit more in the year ahead.  We will share the stories of our days since the last time we met like this; and in speaking of our failures, we will be encouraged by the love of others to live in the possibility of the days yet to come.  I

I’m thinking of you all and hoping that your celebrations have left you filled with love and joy and true thanks.  As for me, I’m off to peel the yams.  Happy Franksgiving!