Thursday, November 24, 2011

Pie Always Tastes Better

I thought I'd give you a glimpse into our Thanksgiving Day here in sunny Atlanta,
and share a quick thought or two...

The kids are so happy to be spending time with Grandma and Grandpa Christensen who are serving a mission faithfully, here in Atlanta, Georgia.

We enjoyed meeting their neighbors, another set of couple missionaries, who told us--when my in-laws were out of the room-- that Steve and Christie had definitely earned their way into heaven.  (Not his exact words, but something like that.)  He described them as brave--incredibly brave.  Their comment left me a little puzzled, but by the end of the evening, I began to understand why they said that.

We spent the morning prepping for a simple but delicious Thanksgiving meal.

Then there was this horribly pathetic episode where all of my kids cut their fingers while pealing potatoes, and I sprayed hand-sanitizer into their wounds thinking it was disinfectant.  (Yay, mom-of-the-year award for me! Not at all!)  No pain, no gain, right?  Moving right along...

It was a treat to cook with my mother-in-law.  She is such a fantastic and capable cook, and she would NEVER spray her kids' wounds with hand-sanitizer...ever.  It's weird to see her cooking in this tiny apartment-sized kitchen, when I've seen her in action in her well-stocked home kitchen, which she knows like the back of her hand. But she did a fabulous job!  

Here is my grandmother's cookbook full of secret family recipes!  To keep her memory alive this year I made her famous (but very secret recipe for) cranberry ice garnish. 

Oooh, secrets!!...but HERE is a story that I CAN tell you.

After enjoying a lovely meal together, sharing what we are thankful for, then making a craft, reading some special Thanksgiving books, listening to some mission stories, and giving a few gifts, I was ready for some PIE!

Actually, truth-be-told, I was ready for pie before I took my last bite of turkey!

But by the time everything else had been done, Grandma and Grandpa really wanted us to go visit a family they had been teaching who are schedule to be baptized this Saturday.

Now, I wasn't against going. I actually thought it sounded like fun...BUT...I WANTED MY PUMPKIN PIE!  And I wanted it first.  (I had already warmed it in the oven, people!)

But...I was the only one who felt this way.

So we loaded up in the car and drove over to this family of soon-to-be converts to the church.

The family consisted of a single mother and her four children.  She was a good lady.  She was a proud, self-sufficient woman.  They lived humbly.  And that is a huge understatement.  Their neighborhood was poor, in fact this whole area is probably mainly in poverty, (the poorest area in Atlanta).  However this good woman took great pride in decorating her apartment and making her house a home.  She is quite the guardian of her hearth...even using an old crutch to secure the front door at night while they sleep.

Anyway, we played "the candy bar game" together.  We laughed together, stole candy bars from each other, and had a lot of fun.  A lot.

As we headed home, I felt that we had done the right thing, in the right order, and in the right way.  And I felt a tinge of guilt for thinking that my desire to eat pie should trump such a visit, or even come first.

As we drove home, passing one title pawn shop after another, I started to understand what the other set of couple missionaries had said about my in-laws.  They truly are brave.  They go into places that many other people wouldn't dare...two little, old (sorry!), white people carrying a message of love to those who might hear it.  They bring the gospel, but mostly they bring a very Christ-like love...the kind of love that causes them to interrupt their Thanksgiving celebration in order to bring cheer to someone else...and not even see it as an interruption.

Some day, I hope to wear a badge just like this one.  And I hope to wear it as honorably as my mother and father-in-law do.  

Thanks, Mom & Dad, for the perfect ending to a perfectly lovely Thanksgiving Day...
...and for setting such a beautiful example for me!

PS - Remember that scholarship fund that helps single mom's get a degree to help better their situation?  Well, you can still donate to it.  So what are you waiting for?  Black Friday?  I mean, I already ate the last piece of pie...


  1. I posted a few pictures of my missionary son on my facebook page and a non-LDS friend made the comment that he was incredibly brave. I think all missionaries are, not matter where they serve or how old they are. Thanks for sharing your Thanksgiving and if spraying wounds with hand-sanitizer is the worst thing you do, you're doing great!

  2. I love that picture of you and your cute little mini-me daughter working in the kitchen. It is pretty much priceless.


  3. The other day while moving I put hand san on MY hands (which were full of little nicks and cuts) and that HURTS! :)

    What a beautiful story. I so often wish I would have gone on a mission. I have to remind myself that I am raising future missionaries. (and are teaching THEM everyday) But I still look forward to doing as your inlaws. What a beautiful way to serve the Lord.

  4. sweet story, and you made me hungry for pie-I found a place that bakes sugar free pumpkin pie with splenda! Hurrah...

  5. and they are so very brave in so many ways.

  6. Thanks for a beautiful message! It was very touching and....reminder to us all of what really matters. Thanks for the inspiration!