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As autumn rolls along, Thanksgiving buzz is spreading through the Forums.

What do Thanksgiving preparations look like in my household? Well, I'm not quite a "Thanksgiving traditionalist." I know many Sonlighters are fantastic cooks who love to make exquisite holiday meals. Those Sonlighters have, perhaps, been planning the Thanksgiving menu for weeks, and what they prepare will come out splendidly.

But I'm really not much of a cook. I can do it if I need to, but I'd much rather spend my holiday doing something else.

So here's a glimpse at my past Thanksgivings. May this help inspire you to find and embrace what's meaningful to your unique family, whether that looks "traditional" or not.

When the kids were young and we lived in California, we used the Thanksgiving break to go camping! It got me out of cooking a turkey (a lot of work in my mind), and let us adventure into the beautiful outdoors. We camped at warmer spots like the Death Valley and Joshua Tree National Park. We would hike during the day and huddle around a campfire at night while John read to us. Since it got dark quite early, we'd get in a lot of reading!

After we moved to Colorado, we shifted to a fall camping trip where we'd meet friends on the weekend after Labor Day. Then for Thanksgiving, we'd meet with John's family for the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Since we shared the production of food, the task seemed less daunting.

For the last four years, we've used the week around Thanksgiving to spend extra time with our kids and their families. We set a budget and plan a week's festivities. I count it a privilege to gather with our children and their spouses and have the grandchildren spend time together. We eat together, do crafts, visit local attractions, talk and laugh. It's a blast, and I normally don't cook a Thanksgiving meal (perfect!). I love it! It takes a lot of planning to keep a diverse group from adults to newborns happy, but the memories created are priceless!

So, however you celebrate Thanksgiving this year, may God grant you the privilege of simply enjoying time with your family. And of course, may we remember in all we do that walking with God, loving our families and loving our neighbors is infinitely more important than meeting our surrounding culture's expectations of what our lives "should" look like.

I am grateful to be part of such a creative, loving and inspirational community of Sonlighters!

Blessings to you and your family,

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